Sunday, July 8, 2012

a post about money - mostly just to give a review of an app I LOVE

Today I'm going to talk a little about money.  I know money is a personal topic for many and it can cause lots of disagreements in relationships/marriages.  However, I'm sure we can all agree on the fact that we wish we had more! 

As I venture into the world of a SAHM, I'm testing the grounds as to how we can live within our means on one salary and still be satisfied with our way of living.  Things will change in September when I'm no longer getting a paycheck, but we have already made changes to anticipate the decrease.
I have always done the finances in our house.  Jason has the philosophy "if we don't spend more than we make, then we're ok".  Well, he really has no idea at any given time how much money we have so his philosophy doesn't fly with me!  However, I have to give him major points in the area of finances because he is on our church's finance committee and he leads bible studies at our church based on Crown Ministry principals.

We have both agreed that the most important areas of our finances are our tithes to church and our savings.  We make sure that we give to church and save each month above anything else.  Unfortunately, I think our savings will take a backseat with me staying home, but we have built it up over the years so it will provide a great safety net if we need it. 

Before we got married, I was used to using cash and checks for all of my spending.  Jason always used a debit card.  When we got married, we used a debit card.  With a debit card you can't get into too much trouble as long as you are keeping up with your account balance because you just can spend more money than you have!  As the years went on, we switched to solely using credit cards with rewards points in order to get something more in return for all of our spending.  However, with this means of spending, you have to be careful not to over spend. 

I have recently started keeping track of all our spending in an excel document.  I know there are fancy programs for this, but this is free and it works for us.  Keeping a visual up-to-date account of our monthly spending helps us to spend within our means in order to pay off our credit card bill each month.

A friend of mine introduced me to a great app called Cashish that is very similar to my excel record keeping.  It is really nice since it's on my phone and I can keep up with our spending on the go.  I will say it takes a lot of work and communication between myself and Jason in order to keep up with what we are both spending.  Some people may feel as though it takes too much effort to do all of this, but it really does provide insight about our monthly spending.

So here is how the app works.  You can set up categories for all of the areas you spend money each month.  My categories are Bryce, Emmy, Gas, Gifts, Grace, Groceries, Jason, Misc., and Restaurant.  I don't include our monthly bills/expenses in this.  Those things are recorded in my monthly budget in a different spreadsheet.  These are just the areas that change each month (that we control) and can be monitored in order to save and not over spend.

When inputting information, you click the spend tab and you enter the amount of money spent, date, category, and you can even put in a note about the purchase if desired.

If you return items or deposit money, you would use the receive tab. 

When clicking on summary, the screen shows you the total amount of money you have spent for the time period you are tracking.

To see a break down of the money spent, you click on reporting.  The information is shown in a pie chart and you can also view each category in a list form.

I set mine up so I can track a month at a time.  At the end of the month, I delete the information and start over.  I also keep an excel spreadsheet of each month's categories in order to compare our spending habits each month.

I was not asked to review this app, but I just love it SO much that I though I would share.  I know what works for some won't work for all, but maybe it will help someone out there. 


1 comment:

Shooter's Digest said...

Since we are in a very similar boat, I'm going to give the app a try. $.99 isn't going to break the bank.