Happy Tuesday friends! Yesterday, we talked about the 8 Things That Your Accountant Should Be Doing For You throughout the year to get you ready for tax season. And today we wanted to talk a little more about our side of it….about what we as individuals & small business owners can be doing to take control of our money & budget before it takes control of us!
I think as anyone who has ever had a financial goal they were working toward (either a debt they were trying to pay off or an amount they were trying to save) will tell you, those BIG goals get blown in the small day to day decisions. It’s a latte here, a new shirt there, or renting a new movie on your Apple TV every night. And before you know it, by the end of the month hundreds of dollars are gone and you have no idea where they went. Those hundreds of dollars represented your cushion or your surplus that should have been going toward your BIG financial goals, and instead you spent them small chunk by small chunk without even realizing it. That’s where our new favorite budget app comes in!
Justin & I have been following and been HUGE fans of Dave Ramsey for about six years now. If you haven’t heard of him, you should definitely check him, his 7 Baby Steps for Getting out of Debt & Building Wealth, and his debt “Snowball” plan out by heading over HERE! It’s been a total game changer in our lives, and we now have this crazy (but not so crazy) big, hairy, audacious goal of paying off our mortgage in the next few years! But in order to do that, we have to keep a handle on our money and tell every dollar where to go. And that’s where Dave’s new budget app, very aptly named Every Dollar comes in!!
Every Dollar launched about a year ago, and essentially it is a monthly budget tool where you can track your income and then tell every dollar where to go before the month begins i.e. before you have already spent it! That’s why budgets should be forward looking (how am I going to intentionally choose to spend this money), not backward (how did I already spend this money!) There is another app out there called Mint that allows you to do most of the same stuff that Every Dollar does, but when we looked at them there were a few things we really liked about this one! The first is that the very first entry & decision you make after inputting your incoming, is deciding how much you’re going to GIVE away that month! We LOVE that it’s encouraging us to give first and put that in the right priority, before we ever start to think about us! The other thing you’ll notice is that the next step is to determine how much you are going to SAVE for your emergency fund. So first we give, then we save, and only then do we spend! (We love that Dave’s money principles are biblically based, and that even the small details of the app follow that too.)
Something else that’s really cool about this app, is that once you set your budget for that first month, you can have it carry over as a starting point for the next month. But then you can always go in and make adjustments and it’s super easy! This is perfect for a creative where we want a starting place, but our business income doesn’t always look the same month to month. So it allows a ton of flexibility on the income while still always telling every dollar where to go.
Here’s one of my FAVORITE parts. In the plus version of the app (which is $99 for the whole year, and definitely worth it), you can sync up all of your accounts (bank, PayPal, etc) so that it pulls in every one of your transactions (deposits or purchases). And then you can simply drag each transaction into its proper category and it will do all the calculations for you. So for example, I can pull that White House Custom Color Charge into the “Prints” Category under our business expenses and it will immediately categorize it and let me know how much I have left to spend in that category for the month. I never have to input numbers or remember transactions. It’s all just drag & drop! We like to stay on top of this by taking 5 minutes every morning to sort the day before’s transactions!
And of course one of the coolest parts is that Every Dollar is both website & app based, so we always have our numbers with us on our phone! That means if we’re out and want to go to lunch, I can look at my phone and see if we have any money in our “restaurants” budget remaining & make a conscious decision whether I want to spend the last $50 we have in there for the month on an impulse lunch or save it up for going to Carrabbas for the bread! :) The whole idea of Every Dollar is taking Dave’s envelope system (where you would literally have cash in an envelope and get down to your last dollar!) and making it digital for those of us who know we would probably just lose the envelopes! :) It’s not quite as painful as handing over cash, but it still makes us stop & think about it before we spend! Below you can see that for the month of March, we were right on the money :) for our budgeting on the mortgage, water, phone & sewer. And that our gas bill was down a little bit this month, but we went OVER on electricity, internet, and a huge overage on home maintenance because we had to bring in a plumber. But because Dave & this app teach us to always put away & save for an emergency fund first, then that wasn’t a big deal!
Finally, the last thing that we really love about this app over the others is that it also integrates in with Dave’s baby steps so you can track the bigger picture on how you’re doing with those steps by what you’re doing with every dollar on the small scale each and every month!
So that’s Every Dollar! We don’t get paid a dime if you guys decide to use it…we just really love it & we love sharing things that will help your businesses and goals and lives get easier! We all work really hard for those dollars….we may as well make them count!
Happy Tuesday friends!
*PS: If you are looking for even more resources on running a smart business, be sure to check out The Guide in our J&M Store which is on special today for $50 off!! Just head over HERE!