When my husband and I got married, we went out to eat almost every single night, I went shopping at places other than Target and Marshall’s, and we could pack up and take a spontaneous road trip to wherever our heart desired! Add 2 kids into the mix, and needless to say, our budget has gotten tighter; and sometimes between school loans, car repairs, and medical bills, it feels like we may never get ahead! But we have found a budget solution that works for us!
Why my family has FIVE bank accounts:
My husband is paid on the 15th and 31st of every month and I am paid once a month on the 15th. I don’t know if any of you can relate, but on the day that we BOTH get paid (the 15th), my husband and I load up the girls and splurge on a big dinner out to eat (by splurge I mean something other than the Chick-fil-A drive-through). I make a tremendous Target run to stock up on everything we need, buy some clothes for the girls, and live carefree for about two weeks. Then somehow by the paycheck on the 31st we are SCRAPING BY since rent is due on the 1st.
From the 1st through the 15th every month we found ourselves living on a shoestring budget. This FEAST OR FAMINE cycle continued month after month until we finally figured out a system that WORKS for our family!
I am not a numbers gal, so when I saw our main checking account had, for example, $5,000 in it… I thought, “We are RICH! Let’s go out! Shop! Celebrate!” Without fully understanding or being able to deduct EVERYTHING that had to come out of that big amount. I would do the “swipe and pray” method and hope that the funds were there. I mean at least I was shopping at Old Navy instead of Neimans, right? WRONG!
How our budget works:
My husband and I thought about trying the cash envelope system but we decided there must be a better way! Then a friend of ours introduced us to the multiple checking account method.
- Main Account – This is for ALL bills, utilities, rent, debt, etc. All non-negotiable.
- My Allowance – This is for groceries, gas, shopping, and eating out. All variable costs.
- Husband Allowance – This is for his gas, eating out, and happy hours after work. All variable costs.
- Business Account – Since I work from home this is where all of my incentives, products, post office runs, and supplies come from. This also makes it MUCH easier when filing taxes.
- Saving Account – We just have one saving account for now. I want to open up one for each of our children at some point though!
In doing this, I am no longer looking at a HUGE number, but my ACTUAL number from my allowance account. This helps me spend more wisely every two weeks. We were also able to figure out how to “pay” my account twice per month from the main account instead of 1 lump sum on the 15th. This has helped me SO much in budgeting for eating out, groceries, and fun outings!
I am NO expert in finances, but we have made some healthy changes in our family’s spending and I thought maybe this could work for some of you other “feast or famine” families out there! I know it has for us!
This post was originally published on September 5, 2016.