I used to do all my budgeting with pen and paper. Then Goodbudget started growing on me.
The way my old pen-and-paper system worked:
- At the beginning of each month I wrote down the amount I received from my paycheck
- Subtracted my recurring expenses
- Deducted expenses from my total every time I made a purchase
- Based all of my decisions off of my total account balance
What I had before wasn’t perfect, but it worked. The whole thing was sort of a modified version of balancing my checkbook.
When I started using Goodbudget, I started thinking in terms of envelopes and categories. My total account balance mattered less because I learned it was a poor indicator for spending how I wanted to in each category. The first major change was that instead of writing transactions on pen and paper, I started exclusively entering them into Goodbudget. I always have my phone on me, so it was easy to do it right at the store. No more saving receipts!
The second major change was using Accounts in Goodbudget. I didn’t think tracking accounts mattered since my envelopes “covered everything.” As a result, I didn’t care how much was in my account. One day, when my envelopes and real-life bank account on my bank’s website didn’t match, it’s like a light bulb went off and I wanted them to match. The peace of mind coming from knowing the amount in my bank account and the amounts in my envelopes matched was worth changing my system.
Fast forward to today, I’ve switched to Goodbudget. Completely. And I couldn’t be happier.