Mom on a Budget :: Why We Have FIVE Bank Accounts!

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READING TIME: 3 min.

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.

The accounts:

  • 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.

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Abby is a wife to Logan and Mom to Stella (January 2013) and Chloé (March 2015). She was raised in Lake Highlands and moved back after college to pursue her Corporate Marketing career with two major retailers here in Dallas. All her goals and plans changed after a whirlwind weekend in California where she experienced love at first sight with a Frenchman. A year later they were married and moved overseas to embark on a 2 year fairytale living and working in France at a B&B in the French Countryside. After her daughter was born, they made the bittersweet decision to come back to Texas to plant roots. Now she spends her days juggling 2 little girls and running a couple of businesses part-time from home. She enjoys drinking French wine, spends way too much time picking the perfect Emojis for her text messages, refinishing furniture, and is a complete Netflix snob. You can follow her blog Bonjour, Y'all or find her on IG overgramming pics of her darling girls at @mrsfrenchy.

8 COMMENTS

    • Hi Courtney! I do 🙂 I picked patterns so that they are easy to identify! Our main is boring red, business is San Fran, and my allowance is a fun leopard pattern! The bank should be able to give you options to help you tell them apart more easily!

    • No! But we were able to dodge the fees by doing a direct deposit of XX amount each month! You can waive the fee by doing this OR by committing to a certain number of debit transactions per month. There is not a minimum balance required for us since they are checking accounts and not savings. We bank with WellsFargo so thats the only bank I can speak to 🙂

    • We put all the extra we have at the end of the 2 weeks / month into savings! We are aggressively saving up for a house so we have that motivation working for us right now 🙂 We have kind of made it a game to try and not spend every dollar!

  1. We do this as well. Whenever people ask me about finances, I always suggest this. It’s transparent, but at the same time, gives each spouse a little privacy with their own money. For me, it was about limiting, but for my husband, it allows him to spend “his” money without my judgement or critique. We also bank with WF and have all red cards, but I just took a sharpie to it. We actually just added one more account that is for food strictly (groceries and eating out). This helps us not eat out as much. If we spend more on groceries one week, then we don’t eat out as much. If we eat out too much, we have to eat more cheaply at the grocery store. I am really liking it, as we seem to spend too much on food (2 adults, 4 kids).

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