We have never really had a budget... I mean, we've written out a budget a few times, but never stuck to it or used it at all. I understood how to budget, but hadn't ever put it into practice. A lot of people I know use the envelope system. They use only cash, divide it up into envelopes for different categories, and when that money's gone it's gone. I certainly believe in only spending money that you actually have (as opposed to buying on credit when you don't actually have enough money in the bank), but Nathan and I rarely carry cash. It just feels like a hassle for us.
We wondered if there was a good budgeting app out there that could help us stay organized and possibly stick to our plan. I did a search and saw the adorable little envelope icon you see at the top of this post, and that totally hooked me.
As it turns out, Goodbudget is the envelope system in digital form!
Goodbudget main screen. Not my photo. I wonder if Dave would lend me some cash.
The app allows you to choose an amount to be allocated into your envelope each week/paycheck and you fill each envelope when you get paid. When you make a purchase (we use a debit card) you subtract that amount from the appropriate envelope.
Example: We deposit $10 into our clothing envelope. I need to buy some jeans for my boys, so I go to the consignment store and spend $8. I punch it into my Goodbudget app and have $2 left for the week.
The money rolls over from one week to the next, so that $2 will stay in the envelope and I will add an additional $10 the following week, so I now have $12 to spend.
In the first two months that we used the Goodbudget app, we saved almost $1000 just by being more aware of our spending. And that's INSANE. We don't make much money, but it is so easy to spend a lot of money when you're not keeping track of it. How we saved that much I have no idea, but it was a real eye opener!
Obviously, Goodbudget has made us more aware of our spending and has compelled us to spend less, but more than that it has given us a great sense of being in control of our money. It is actually very freeing... in the past if I wanted to go buy a piece of clothing or something frivolous, I would have felt guilty or unsure about it. Now, I can look at the budget and see, "Oh, I have $35 sitting in the clothing budget! I can buy it if I want to because that's what that money is for!"
One of my favorite features of the app is the way it reacts to your transactions. It will say "way to go, goodbudgeter!" or "you are a budget master!" or something like that each time you log a purchase. If you are on track with your spending you'll see a happy, full envelope. If you get low on cash your envelope will start to look worried. If you run out of money your envelope will look sad and empty. It's just too cute and I love it.
Inside an envelope. Not my photo either :)
The Goodbudget app does not access your bank account or use any of your "real money." It simply allows you to organize what you have and lets you see where your money is going and exactly how much you have.
I know a lot of my friends struggle financially sometimes and we could all use some help saving money. This is a simple little tool that I really believe can help some of you like it has helped us. We use the free version of the app and it works perfectly for us (ten envelopes, syncs two devices), but they have a subscription service as well if you need/want more features.
Download it here! Also available on iPhone.
I just wanted to share this great app with you because we love it! I hope you do too.