Guest post by Elisha
My husband and I are huge fans of Dave Ramsey. We became debt-free after we got married and used the cash envelope system to stick to our budget.
We strongly believe in the cash system. But when my husband started getting his paycheck directly deposited, I would have to go get cash out to put into the envelopes. It became one more thing to do.
After we started having kids, it became more of a hassle and struggle to count out the cash, get my coupons, make sure I had my price-matching items organized, and control the tots.
Some other issues we began to have with the envelopes:
- My husband or I would need a specific envelope, only to realize that the other one had it. This mainly happened with the restaurant envelope! (Most of the time, we’d just take out how much we thought we’d use. Then, we wouldn’t use it all, and we’d forget to put it back — which meant cash that we then didn’t know what it was earmarked for.)
- If we had to use money from one envelope, only to reimburse it because we used it for something other than it’s purpose, we’d often forget.
- If I forgot to grab the envelope (which started happening a lot after having kids) I’d have to remember to hold on to the receipt, which often got trashed while the kids were helping me put groceries away.
This probably sounds like I’m really unorganized — but I’m not really! It’s just that with our 3 kids under 4, life somehow gets a little more chaotic.
A few months ago, we discovered Mint.com. Boy, has it made life easier! Now, we pay for nearly everything using our debit card. No more envelopes….just the checking and savings accounts to keep up with.
If you’re not familiar with Mint.com, it’s is a great, free website that helps you manage your money. There is also an fantastic free app you can download.
Some of the wonderful things about Mint.com:
- You can enter your budget, it shows how much you are spending and warns you if you are about to over spend.
- You can categorize every purchase, then it breaks down your spending so you can see exactly where your money is going.
- It creates a beautiful pie chart (for those who love to see numbers in picture form!) to show what percentage of your money is going where.
- The app lets you see how much is in your account and how much you’ve spent from your budget.
- When you enter your budget, it shows what the national average is for spending in that category (which is so interesting, and exciting when you see you’re spending a lot less than everyone else!)
Like I said, the cash envelope system helped us tremendously for several years! But this system of only using our debit card and Mint.com is so much easier — especially for this season of life we’re in. If you’re trying to get out of debt and working to follow a budget, this is another great option.
Elisha is more than happily married to her husband of 6 years. They have 3 kids: 3, 2, and 8 months — and she loves being a stay-at-home mom! Her family enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and snuggling.