Budgeting is hard. It makes me crazy. Paying bills make me stress. And I should know better. I should have my spending under control. I do this for a living, for crying out loud! But I struggle.
I understand the concepts. Know how much money you have. Know how much you are spending on what. Spend less than you earn. It sounds so simple. Yet it’s not.
It’s just like dieting. Consume fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. It sounds so simple. But I like chocolate!!!!!!
I’ve had some success in the past using online trackers to help with weight loss. So it makes sense that maybe I’ll do better with budgeting if I get some online help in that area. I’ve reviewed a lot of different online tools. A lot of people like Mint. I’ve had mixed experiences with it. It’s ok for tracking where the money goes, as long as it works right. But I’ve had some trouble with it tracking some of my expenses multiple times. Tired of the disappointment, I moved on. A lot of people rave about You Need a Budget. I like the concept of this site, but rejected it because it requires an actual software installation on the computer. I want something more portable than that. I finally decided to try something called Mvelopes.
Mvelopes is the modern online version of the old tried-and-true envelope budgeting system. I watched my father use the envelope system throughout my childhood. On payday he would go to the bank and come home with cash. He would then sit at his desk and dole out that cash into its designated envelopes. When my mom needed to go to the grocery store, she took money from the Grocery envelope. When I needed new shoes, it was time to hit up the Clothing envelope. When the car needed fuel, we tapped into the Gas envelope. And if there wasn’t any money left in an envelope, we had to either make do without, or figure out what envelope we could afford to move money from.
The concept of envelope budgeting is really solid. You can’t spend cash that isn’t there. But the idea of working with actual cash is kind of antiquated. I don’t want to have to deposit cash into my checking account every time I need to pay a utility bill. But Mvelopes brings that concept into today’s age, where life works with plastic transactions and online bill paying. I have online envelopes, designated for my budget line items. I can move funds from one envelope to another. Every time I get paid, I fund my envelopes.
I’m hopeful that this budgeting tool is going to make a difference for me and help me pay down some debt. But we’ll see. I still like chocolate…