Let’s talk finances and budgeting – what methods for budgeting and spending work for you? Link up with me today!

19 Jan

Money and budgeting seem to be at the top of many New Year’s plans. Finances can add stress to a relationship, but it’s obviously preferable that we know how to manage our finances before we are married, as well as have some sort of idea of how we want to share finances once we are married. What are some of your recommendations for planning your finances and budgeting your money now so that it will be less stressful down the road? Do you hope to share accounts with your spouse or have a yours/mine/ours system? How have you seen other couples manage their finances in a way that works well?


If money grew on trees, we would all be rich!  Oh, if only 😉

As a single lady, managing my finances has been both exhilarating and frustrating.  When I graduated college, I set a few goals for myself: I wanted to be debt-free before marriage, and I wanted to live simply in order to pay off my college loans as soon as possible.  I love setting goals and working to reach them.  That’s how I am motivated.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment and peace.

With my finances, I set a budget for myself (groceries, gas, loan payments, tithing to Church, donating to charitable causes, and the extras (whatever you title that category.) and use an envelope system.  I have an envelope for my, savings, future, and “extra.”  The envelope system might sound old-fashioned, but IT WORKS.  Dave Ramsey is the guy who came up with this envelope system.  My dear grandma who is now in her nineties (!) used the envelope system while she and her husband were raising their eleven children.  They didn’t have a lot, but they had enough.

I was raised in a large family, and, as you might guess, we lived simply.  We always had enough, and we lived comfortably.  Money didn’t flow like milk and honey, but my parents were smart with their money and knew how to manage it well.  Their money skills were passed on to me, and thanks to them, I have a financial system that works well.

SO, you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with me?!”  I’m glad you asked 🙂  I’d like to pose a couple questions for you.  These questions will help you be financially free, stress-free, and debt-free NOW AND down the road.


Question #1: Is it a need or is it a want?

Last weekend I met up with a friend at our local mall.  I had to make a return to one of the shops (Francesca’s anyone??  They have some of the cutest jewelry!!)  Well, my friend and I browsed the mall after I made my return, and our conversations went something like this: “Oh my goodness – smell this!  Doesn’t it smell amazing?!!?”  “The body lotions are only $6!”  “Do you need lotion?” “No.” “Okay, then you don’t need to buy it.”  (haha)  “Is it something you want or something you need?”  “If you don’t NEED it, don’t buy it.”  If you can determine whether what you want to spend your money on is a want or a need, that will help you control where your money is going.  (Let’s be real.  “Wants” are okay in moderation, just make sure you have money in your bank for the needs, including a cushion amount in case of emergency (doctor visit, car repair, etc.)


Question #2: Are you spending your money with a credit card, debit card or cash?

Credit cards are very tricky things.  A credit card is nice, convenient and pretty, but it’s tricky.  A credit card can eeping cash on hand is a visual way to see how you spend your money.  Paying with cash is quite different from swiping your credit card.  The card can seem like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The cash on the card might be there at the end of the rainbow, but it might not be there.  On the other hand, cash is that nice little way that opening your wallet can remind you “I only have $34 on hand.  That’s what I physically have available to spend right now.”

I remember one of the very first times I used a credit card and then got a bill in the mail.  My first emotion was, “What the heck?! I already paid for this.”  I was so used to my debit card that pays for my purchases right then and there, that I didn’t think that the other card was a “swipe and pay later” type.  It was not a huge deal, but it was a little reminder that my credit card should be used in conjunction with what I physically have in my bank account.  My mantra is “if the money is not in my bank, then it’s not mine to spend.”  (Again, let’s be real.  If you’re taking out a loan, or if you just know how to use your credit card and pay it off on time, then you’re on the right path!)


Question #3: Do you have a savings/rainy day fund?

Whenever I make a rent or bill payment, I always make sure I have enough money in my other accounts.  I’ll refer to it  after my payment in case of an emergency.  I didn’t want to make a big payment and then have nothing left over in case my car needed a lot of work.  Actually a couple summers ago, my car suddenly needed a lot of work.  The money I had saved up as my “savings/rainy day” fund came to the rescue and I had enough money to pay for my car repairs.


I plan to merge bank accounts with my husband when that time comes for me.  I’ve heard of couples who have separate accounts and take turns paying the bills, etc.  That sort of system sounds odd  because it sounds like each spouse is holding onto their finances and not letting the other spouse share in the finances, and that could lead to secrecy and deceit.  In a marriage, everything is joined together emotionally, physically and spiritually, so why not become financially joined too?


Link up with your thoughts below and make sure you link over to my lovely co-host Lindsay’s blog as well.

Next week on 1/26, Lindsay is hosting the discussion on Spiritual Motherhood (I am super excited about that topic!), and the following week (2/2) I will be hosting the discussion on Problem-Solving.




10 Responses to “Let’s talk finances and budgeting – what methods for budgeting and spending work for you? Link up with me today!”

  1. proverbialgirlfriend January 19, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Great tips! It’s always good to have a goal. As a married woman, I can say, that yes, maintaining joint accounts is a great plan. But also, I would say, it’s not a hard and fast rule. If you’ve discussed different systems and your rationales stem from virtues, not vices, and a different plan works better with how you operate, it’s ok. Accounting plans can always change; healthy habits should not. 🙂

    • Rfog February 7, 2016 at 12:21 am #

      I like how you said that one’s financial plans don’t have to be set in stone forever, that they can fluctuate. Good to remember for future financial ventures, whether it be a loan, joint bank account, etc.

      • proverbialgirlfriend February 23, 2016 at 11:16 am #

        Thanks! I call it the “right now” plan.

  2. LauraMarieForLife January 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    So interesting to read. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! I’m really thinking about this a lot with graduation just around the corner. I have a couple Dave Ramsey books to dig into, and am liking the concepts the more I hear from people who use them.

    • Rfog February 7, 2016 at 12:21 am #

      Oh yes, definitely check out Dave Ramsey!! His financial tips are wonderful!

  3. Lindsay January 31, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

    I love the envelope system! I’d heard of a similar concept when I was in undergrad and just coming back to the Church, but I couldn’t quite manage it then. YNAB has been really helpful in making the envelope system (a.k.a. zero-balance budgeting) manageable even if you’re not big on using actual cash.

    I also love that YNAB forces you to acknowledge when credit card debt is real debt. When I swipe my credit card and enter that into YNAB, it takes the money out of my budget. It treats it like I’ve already spent that money because—wonder of wonders—I *have* already spent it! That was a personal game-changer.

    • Rfog February 7, 2016 at 12:26 am #

      I may have to look into the YNAB. I haven’t heard of that before. It sounds like a good program.


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