Welcoming a Pup Into My Home & Budget

I recently got a puppy named Curby.  She’s a fearless little Chihuahua-mix that enjoys napping in laps, chewing on shoelaces, and sunbathing on the deck.  At first I wasn’t sure how to include her in my regular budget, so I decided to record her expenses in my existing Envelopes and tag them with #Curby in the notes section.  This would let me keep track of how much I spent on her, without having to change my existing budget. It wouldn’t work as well if my Curby expenses outweighted my regular expenses, but how much could a little dog cost? A month later, Goodbudget showed me the answer. I went to my Spending by Envelope Report and selected “Curby” under the Tagged filter to see how much I spent.  Tiny as she is, expenses for Curby grew bigger and bigger—a squeaky chew toy here, gummy bear-flavored shampoo there, not to mention her shots and food.

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FAQ: Be Smarter with #tagging

Update

EEBA is now Goodbudget! Goodbudget has all the great features of EEBA (and more!) in a new and updated interface. Check out our updated article on this topic, and check out the Goodbudget Help Center for the most recent help content.

Tags are a way to keep track of spending that occurs in more than one Envelope. You can use this feature to keep track of pretty much anything, from spending on events or personal projects to tax deductions.

For example, I’ve always wondered how much I spend on tailgate parties. When I go tailgating I buy food from my Groceries Envelope, gas from my Transportation Envelope, and tickets from my Fun Money Envelope. Because the expenses are recorded to different Envelopes it’s hard to know how much I really spend. With tags I can add a “tailgate” tag to each of these expenses and see how much I spend on tailgating no matter how many Envelopes the expenses are recorded to.

How do I add a #tag to an expense?

To add a tag simply type “#” and then the name of your tag into the notes field of the expense. Here, I’m buying food for my next tailgate party. I record the expense to my Groceries Envelope as usual, but now I add “#tailgating” into the notes field.

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Save with Purpose

When we choose to save, we’re paying a cost today with the hope of a future reward later. Many of us choose not to save thinking we can’t bear that present cost. Other’s may overemphasize the future reward and save without purpose or limit. Both of these perspectives can be misleading. As you think about your own saving, take some time to think about what you’re saving for. Having a clear purpose for your savings will help you make the hard decisions about when and how much to save, and let you know when you’ve saved enough.

What are you saving for?

Having a clear purpose for your savings will help you prioritize it over other distractions that are sure to happen each month. Years ago I tried to start a savings account, but never decided what I was saving for. Unsurprisingly, each month something would come up that would distract me from saving. One month my car needed to be repaired, another month my friends would want to go on a road trip. Without a purpose for my savings account, it was hard to ever say no to these things and my savings account remained empty.

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Budgeting with Financial Aid

With Fall fast approaching, students everywhere are leaving their nests to set off to college. With more and more students taking loans to finance their education, however, learning how to budget and live off student loans is more important than ever.

The hardest part about budgeting with student loans is that you get it all at once. With a pile of cash in the bank, it’s just too easy to look at your bank balance and think you have more to spend than you really do, leaving yourself short in the months ahead. To make sure you don’t overspend, treat your student loan like an income you receive over time. If you’re borrowing 6,000 to pay for the next four months, treat it as a monthly budget of 1,500 (6,000 / 4 = 1,500) that you’ll need to maintain each month. That way, you can be sure you’ll have enough to cover your needs till your next loan disbursement.

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FAQ: How do I record cashback?

Update EEBA is now Goodbudget! Goodbudget has all the great features of EEBA (and more!) in a new and updated interface. Check out our updated article on this topic, and check out the Goodbudget Help Center for the most recent help content. Getting “cashback” is like mixing an atm withdrawal with a purchase. When you … Read more

How much can I afford to give?

This spring, I came across an opportunity to help a friend. This friend of mine would be living in the slums of Manila and working with women exiting prostitution, and I hoped to help her get there. There are many cool short and long term projects like this that I would love to support, but my question was “How much can I afford to give?” I wanted to give more money away, but I never knew how far my money could go.

Shortfalls of Account Balance Budgeting

As an inexperienced budgeter, I had trouble finding a balance between excessive spending and fearful thriftiness. I used to look at my checking account balance when making financial decisions. I’d see my balance, try to estimate a needed cushion plus any known future expenses, and then be willing to spend the difference. This elementary form of budgeting kept me from going in the red, but it didn’t give me a picture of where my money was going. It also kept me from making more bold and generous choices with my money.

Creating a Budget with Goodbudget

In order to determine how much I could afford to give, I decided to create a budget with Goodbudget. With each step, I became closer to my goal—

 

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Start Small and Build Momentum to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Financial goals can often seem large and overwhelming. But don’t be intimidated! Start with small and fun financial goals to build confidence and momentum toward larger goals. Not sure how to start? Here are some tips on how to choose a small and fun financial goal to get started.

Make a list of potential financial goals

Start by making a list of potential financial goals. Be creative when you make this list! You can start with the usual suspects like a retirement fund or a college fund for the kids, but don’t stop there. Is there a hobby you’ve wanted to try but haven’t had the cash to get started? Or maybe a trip you’ve wanted to go on but haven’t had the funds? Write those down!

A financial goal is more than just building up wealth, it’s about making choices with the money that you have. Paying down debt or saving for the future are great financial goals, but so is learning an instrument or giving meaningfully to a good cause. Think creatively about your financial goals and you’re more likely to find one you’ll really stick with.

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When is it OK to use your credit card?

When is it OK to use your credit card? Some might say never, and with consumer debt topping 1.7 trillion dollars this year, maybe they’re right.* But why are credit cards so bad, and is going all cash really the answer?

Credit Cards Distance You From Your Spending

People spend more when they pay with their credit card. It’s inevitable. When you pay with cash, you feel every penny. You only have so much cash on hand and each dollar you spend is a dollar less in your pocket. This direct connection with your spending keeps things in perspective. Spend $50 bucks on eating out this week, and you’ll feel the emptiness if your wallet by the end of it.

In contrast, when you pay with a credit card the payment happens out of context. You spend $5 on a sandwich one day, $6 on a burrito the next, and nothing adds up. Not until the end of the month when you’re hit with a $300 bill that you don’t understand, and may not have the money to pay in full.

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