Monday, September 26, 2016
We Bought a Farm: How we budget online
We've always needed to budget. But with all the changes that owning a farm brings, we really needed a way to figure out where our money was going.
It was just a few months after we got married that JB happened upon Dave Ramsey on the radio. It took me awhile to buy into the system of using envelopes and cash to budget your money. We used this for many years, got completely out of debt, and truly enjoyed living within our means.
What I cannot explain to people who haven't done it is how freeing budgeting is. It seems like it would be a form of bondage to be required to follow guidelines. But in fact I felt freer to spend. It allowed me to know how much I had for my clothes or my kids clothes and to spend accordingly.
However, with six people in our family (and eight if you count JB's parents), envelopes just were not working for us anymore. The reason is that they were too big. Our grocery budget, for example, with that many people, is really, really big. To carry around that much cash just wasn't safe or feasible for us. But we still wanted to budget.
www.goodbudget.com. There are a couple of different programs out there like this so shop around a bit and find one that fits you. Goodbudget has a free trial before you decide on the program. (After that it is a couple of bucks a month to use it.) But there are many other programs that do the same thing.
Basically how it works is that JB and I both have the program on our phones. (We also use it on the desktop.) Our phones are synced together. You can also sync it with your bank, but we decided not to do that as it made us a little nervous. We have "virtual envelopes" that we use. So for example, we have a "grocery" envelope. If JB buys something for groceries, he enters the receipt into his phone, and I see it on my phone. If I go to the grocery store on the same day, I enter the amount spent in as well too. At a glance, we can see how much we have in each of our envelopes.
We have a "farm" envelope. This envelope allows money to be added to it as well. When someone buys chickens or eggs from us, I add money to the envelope. And when we buy feed from the animals, we enter it in as well.
At the start of a new month, we tell the program to automatically enter in our new envelopes for the month. The program does this and the money we still had rolls into the next month. In addition, you are allowed to go into the negative which works well for us. There are some months where we are heavy on a category, and I know we will recover in a few months.
If you aren't budgeting, I cannot implore you enough to START doing it. We know exactly where all of our money is going every month. In addition, if JB works an extra shift in a given month, we add that money wherever we want it added or simply put it in savings. Whatever we decide to do.