We’re half-way through the 40 days of financial fasting and soon you will return to spending and making financial decisions again. To prepare for this, I encourage you to implement a budgeting system.
My elderly father-in-law used a simple Financial Ledger and once a week he would itemize and balance his columns. He died a wealthy man, using a financial ledger until the age of 92 and his vision and handwriting failed him. You can find these ledgers at office stores, or on Amazon in numerous styles when you search “financial ledgers.”
Another simple method of budgeting is using a binder which you create yourself. Financial expert Dave Ramsey has a free downloadable set of budget sheets when you CLICK HERE. With this binder format, you can store “bills due” inside a binder sleeve, or even use monthly tabs. Keep your postage stamps and return address labels inside your binder for easy access. If you’re a creative woman and dislike anything that looks like a budget, then perhaps this will encourage you to track expenses and create a budget. Design a beautiful cover for your binder, add colorful tabs, Scripture verses to motivate you, and be blessed!
I’m the money manager in our home, so I’ve used Quicken Financial Software for many years. There is a learning curve on this software and the format keeps changing. When talking to family and friends many have stopped using this software because it’s time-consuming. Others enjoy the automated spreadsheets showing where money is spent and saved. For me the program was beneficial until…get ready to gasp…the day my husband DELETED seven years of financial records. Yes…I nearly had a heart attack! He thought he was being helpful and created an entirely new database, deleting the old one. Remember my warning the “format keeps changing?” This is a consequence when a family member does not understand the software. Though I forgave him for erasing our budgets, spending and spreadsheets…I did not resume using the software for fear my work would be useless and deleted again.
Notice the word “fear?” in the last sentence? One of the reasons we do not budget is FEAR. We’re afraid to look at what we have or do not have. We’re afraid to deny ourselves and cut back on our dreams. Many couples are afraid to budget and track spending because it often escalates in to an argument. Rather than confront fear, we often hide our expenses and ignore the reality of our budgets. Pray for the courage to confront and overcome this fear. Trust God with your everything, and especially your money. Learn money management from the Financial Peace University offered at many local churches when you CLICK HERE
As part of the financial fasting, I recognize that we need a family budget and spending plan. Maybe you do too? Start looking at methods to record your expenses and budget.
BUDGETING TIP from WBC Guest Mary Ann Miller
Mvelopes is a virtual envelope budgeting system. Unlike other financial programs that show where your money went, with Mvelopes you’ll decide where your money will be spent.
If you’ve never heard of envelope budgeting, here’s a brief explanation:
A manual envelope budgeting system works like this. You are paid weekly and your budget amount for groceries is $800 per month. When you get your paycheck, take out an envelope and write “Groceries” on the outside. Put $200 in the envelope. Now, when you need to buy groceries, you use only the money in that envelope. The first time you do this, be sure to buy some beans and rice because, if you’re like most people, you WILL run out of money. Once you’ve been on beans and rice three or four days, you will not run out of money in that envelope again.
Here’s how Mvelopes works:
Register for a free Mvelopes account or use the paid version for more envelopes.
Now, set up your accounts (checking, savings, credit card, etc.) and envelopes (mortgage, groceries, clothing, etc.)
Mary Ann sayss, “Next, set up a spending plan (think— I plan to spend $800 on groceries, $100 on entertainment, $900 on my mortgage, etc.) and a funding plan (think—- now I need to how much to take out of each paycheck to put in my envelopes to reach the amount I’ve decided to spend.) Once this step is complete, you’re ready to us Mvelopes.”
Before making a purchase, check the balance of the appropriate “envelope” in Mvelopes —they have a mobile app for that. Once the purchase is made, enter the expense into Mvelopes. (You don’t have to do it right away. Just keep your receipts and enter it each day or every few days.)
Each day, Mvelopes pulls the transactions from your accounts into a “pending transaction” window. You simply click on the pending transaction that matches the expense you entered. (Some users do this step once a day or once week.) Paychecks and deposits are moved to the Income Cash Pool, where they sit until you fund your envelopes.
NOTE: Some people are uncomfortable entering their bank login information into Mvelopes. However, Mary Ann has been using Mvelopes for over seven years, and she’s never had a problem.
You can sign up for a free Mvelopes account. Free accounts are limited to four accounts and 25 envelopes.
“Mvelopes has been an answer to a prayer for me. Prior to finding it, I tried everything—Excel spreadsheets, various financial software, etc. Nothing worked for me like Mvelopes. I won’t sugarcoat it, budgeting is hard. But, Mvelopes makes it a little easier,” says Mary Ann. “I have no affiliation with Mvelopes, other than being a satisfied customer.”
LET’S HEAR FROM YOU
Post a comment below and share your budgeting tips too!