How we keep our household budgeting less painful
Budgeting is no fun. It’s an evil that most of us deal with every month without fail just because it’s necessary. We all know it’s messy, frustrating, time-consuming, but few admit. In front of our neighbors, relatives, and friends we boast of our budgeting skills and pretend how much we enjoy doing it. However, deep in our hearts we know how much we hate it.
I hate doing it more than Stephanie. However, we have a set of rules that helps us keep things simple and less painful. So here are few budgeting tools that we employ and keep things straight in our crazy lives.
This app is an essential part of our day-to-day budgeting. I’ve enlisted all out budgeting categories in this app, and we use this app to list our expenses in real-time. Whenever I buy some groceries or shop from the supermarket, I record all the expenses immediately under the particular categories. If I forget to list any expense on the spot, I make sure I put down the same before I go to bed. However, we deliberately avoid using all the features that the app offers. This way we avoid the headache of tracking down every penny we spend and make the process less painful.
We don’t keep track of any of our checking/savings/credit cards or other accounts through the app and track only our estimated monthly budget and actual expenses. Though there you’ll find separate sections for bills and income, we usually don’t use those.
The next device in our arsenal is Mint – our most trusted budgeting tool. We have our each and every account connected to Mint. Here’s an idea of what I mean:
- Emergency fund savings
- Business checking
- Business savings
- Health savings account
- Credit cards
- Roth IRA investments
- Taxable investments
- 529 college savings plans
It’s very tough to keep track of all the accounts at the same time otherwise. But Mint does the job perfectly for us. It helps us know where all our accounts exactly stand. If we want to know exactly how much liquid cash we have in our hand, Mint tell us the same instantly. Even if we wonder how our retirement accounts are taking shapes, Mint tells us. We check up most of these figures twice a week, and it’s very simple.
We make use of this trendy net worth tracking spreadsheet to reconcile our finances from month to month. At the beginning of every month, we open this spreadsheet and manually enter all our account balances. It took time in the beginning, however, things became easier and less time-taking as we got used to it. The spreadsheet is very much competent and helps us track how much we gain or lose from one month to another. It’s a great way to start each month knowing where we stand financially.
Apart from all these, Stephanie and I have split responsibilities to make things more even and organized. While I take care of things like utilities, credit cards, and electricity bills, Stephanie is responsible for the entire month’s meal planning and grocery spending. By knowing who pays what we never find ourselves wondering if a particular bill was paid or not.
Our goal is very plain and simple – simplifying our budgeting and making it less painful, and this is how we accomplish it. How do you budget?