Using a Budgeting App: The Payoff

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Since the new year, my husband and I have been trying a new Android budgeting app known as GoodBudget. It basically works like a virtual envelope system to help you track your spending in each category without having to take cash out of the bank. The first few months, we’ve been learning how to tweak the budget and work out the kinks. There were expenses we’d forgotten about and confusion over distinguishing between necessary and non-necessary purchases, but it was all part of the learning process. Through this process we learned just how much we’d been spending on eating out and entertainment (too much!), and non-necessary items. In addition to the hard lessons, one of the benefits I discovered was a “fun money” envelope for personal spending. Now when I go shopping, I know exactly how much I am allowed to spend. I can spend each month’s fun money or save it up towards a larger purchase; the choice is mine. This bit of freedom is vital in any attempt at disciplining your spending.

This last month, March, we were finally able to see some results from using the budgeting app. For instance, from money we’d set aside in our “Things We Want” envelope, we were able to purchase a nice new coffeemaker when ours died. From this account, we also purchased another office chair I needed now that I’m taking college classes online.  Another category of the account that grew was our “Extra Car Payment” envelope. Instead of making an extra payment each month of what we’d saved, we’d been accumulating it so we could wipe out a significant chunk of debt at once. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for this money. This weekend we took our vehicle in for warranty work, but the dealership discovered a few important fixes that added up to several hundred dollars. In the past, we would have been unable to account for this unexpected expense, and would have had to stagger the repairs out as we could afford them. After discussing the practicality of doing all the work while we had it in the shop, and the fact that everything that needed to be repaired should be done as soon as possible, we decided to use the money we’d set aside in “Extra Car Payment” for the car repairs.

Even though this choice means we’ll have to start at square one again with our Extra Car Payment envelope, the fact that we’d been able to save the money means out finances were not strained because of the unexpected. In the past, we would have probably been forced to use Emergency Fund money for these repairs, endangering our reserve should we actually encounter a real emergency before we had time to build the fund back up.  Seeing just this one benefit of using the budgeting app has strengthened our resolve to continue using it and even increased our discipline to abide by our budget.

I would encourage you to explore this and other budgeting app options if you’re an Android user. I’m sure there are similar programs for iPhone, as well as computer software applications for Macs and PCs. With all the technology available to us, anyone can successfully formulate and follow a budget. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you discipline your spending and make plans for your money!

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

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