EveryDollar Budgeting App – Is it for your family?
Money can’t buy happiness, or can it? It’s a taboo conversation starter for sure, but one we should think through to help us determine what role money plays in our lives and how we can manage it better. Without a plan, our money gets spent without us even recognizing it or acknowledging where it’s going. This has definitely been the case in our family, which is why we started using the EveryDollar budgeting app by Dave Ramsey. Side note: this isn’t an ad for the app, it’s just a tool we wanted to share that has served our family well in making smarter spending decisions and paying off debt.
To determine if this app or budgeting, in general, is something you should consider, first answer this question: do you know where every dollar you make goes?
I’m talking about every dollar and cent that you see come into your bank account, do you know where it goes? If not, it may be time to start a budget. And while budgeting gets a bad rap because it’s associated with extreme frugality and saying no to brand-name coffee and going out to eat, that isn’t what it has to be. Once you’re in control, your budget can be as strict or not strict as you want it to be.
To start getting in touch with your money and finding out where every dollar goes, track your normal spending for a month or two. You’ll enter every purchase you make into the app under categories you choose, for that month or two. After you’re done, you’ll be able to see if you are living within your means; if you’re spending less than you’re making. You’ll also be able to analyze which categories you’re spending the most in and determine if that’s really where you want your money to go.
For us, our surprise spending category was, embarrassingly enough, “gas station food and drinks.” While we knew we stopped occasionally to get a pop, snack, and slushy for the kids, we never would have guessed how those purchases added up. This was a category we very much wanted to change after we saw its impact. So for the next month, we budgeted an amount that was far less than we were spending. We knew once we hit that certain amount, we were done buying junk at the gas stations. Our bank account (and our bodies) has appreciated this change.
Tracking your money and living within a budget aren’t easy skills to master, but so worthwhile.
Once you save enough with a budget to pay off that debt hanging around your neck or donate to a charity close to your heart, you’ll be hooked. And your kids will notice the change too. It’s easier for us to explain money to our kids now that we know where it’s all going. We can show them the direct correlation between not buying something minimal, to save and make a bigger impact later.
So, while money itself may not bring you happiness, the goals you meet, people you help, and freedom you gain from getting rid of debt, sure will!
About the Author
Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is a tough question, just ask Stephanie Lovelace, because she still hasn’t decided. First, she got a degree in journalism and was a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist, then went to college again and became an elementary teacher, now she stays home, homeschools three kids, and is a freelance writer. What’s stayed steady: her supportive husband, love of pets (current counts at three dogs and four cats), and being an Iowa girl.
Follow along with her current gig, on Instagram at @stephs_at_home.