I have waited two years to be able to bring this system to you. I have an incredible journey and story to tell you about how Blaine and I have come 100% united from being two completely different individuals who manage our money. We have made huge improvements to how we manage our finances; this system truly changed it all for us. It is the reason we got out of debt. Finances are no longer a source of frustration, confusion, bitterness, or anger because of this system. Get ready because I’m going to give you some good notes on this fail-proof budgeting system any married couple can use.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
You may be coming to this post with a bunch of skepticism because you’ve tried all the budgets. Trust me that’s why we created the system. We tried everything and nothing was working until we found this fail-proof system.
If you already have a system I want you to think about if your system is working for you? Are you able to pay yourself first and then have money left to pay your bills? Are you and your spouse on the same page?
Blaine and I are polar opposites in budgeting and managing money. This is the journey we have gone through in order to be completely on the same page. If you want this exact system and all the details with my exact spreadsheets you will have to grab a seat at the Systemize Your Life Academy. We have been sitting on this system for a long time making sure it’s 100% working for us and you can have full access to it inside the Academy.
The Beginning of our Financial Journey
This journey started all before Blaine and I were married. We reconnected and we were both dating to marry. As a single mom, I didn’t want someone to come into my kid’s life unless they wanted to get married.
He was living in Ohio and I was living in Arizona and I would fly out there and it was like the cutest and the most attractive interview I’ve ever been on. We just were constantly asking each other hard questions and one of the questions he asked me was “What do you want to do with your finances when you get married?”
I knew right then that he was totally going to manage our money because I don’t do any of this. I grew up being told money doesn’t grow on trees and always holding onto it including when I needed to pay my bills. Blaine came with the mentality that money was fluid, it comes, it goes, and more comes. So we had two very different ideas on this and you and your spouse might be in that place.
When we got married he was sitting on an incredible nest egg because he was single for so long, didn’t have any kids, and worked a lot. Then we went through this merging of our lives. Merging our finances and having a baby, he soon found money goes real quick around here.
So he was taking care of the finances but we’ve got two people with two cards and different spending habits and unhealthy financial choices. So that’s when I said we needed a budget but Blaine had never had one.
Testing a Budget
Blaine and I then tried some zero-based budgeting apps that tell you to the penny where your money is going. Mint and EveryDollar by Dave Ramsey teach this. There is a lot of wisdom there. I loved the concept that if you want to have the later years of your life be robust and full of life you need to be disciplined with your money now.
I knew I needed to get disciplined with my money. To do this I also needed to know where the money was going. I’ll do whatever you tell me but I need to know why I can only have $20 of spending money this week.
But this system did not work. We were not disciplined enough to stick to what the little app said we had allocated. I kept telling him we needed the envelope system. Blaine said there was no way he was going to the bank and doing paper bills. I went along but in the back of my mind, I’m just like “Oh Lord, please. How long are we going to have to struggle through this until we get to the paper envelope system?”
So we ended up going on a marriage retreat specifically to figure out our finances in marriage. Blaine wanted to do an electronic budgeting system that was similar to the paper envelopes and I was all in!
“We printed out three months’ worth of expenses and highlighted them in different categories. When we sat down at our retreat we knew exactly what our spending habits were. It is so enlightening. With everything laid out, in front of you, you see the frivolous spending and why you’re not saving. “
Find out what is happening
Put a big star next to this part.
We printed out three months’ worth of expenses and highlighted them in different categories. When we sat down at our retreat we knew exactly what our spending habits were.
It is so enlightening. With everything laid out, in front of you, you see the frivolous spending and why you’re not saving. It seems tedious but the result was really awesome.
When we came together we had all of it done and I put it inside a spreadsheet. It showed us what it would look like for us to be able to really make ends meet the way that we wanted to.
The Start of Our Budget System
And that’s where this whole system started. We mapped it out in a spreadsheet.
Now make another big note of this…We were paying ourselves first for everything that we wanted to do later on. It was dialed in. and we knew exactly what our money was going towards every single month. We were putting money aside for things like Christmas every month. There was no way were going to go back to our old habits.
We left the retreat, came home, opened up the computer to finish a few things, and guess what happened?
He didn’t save it.
Gone, the whole thing.
We spent probably 12 hours that weekend on it, had babysitters, and all the things lined up. We went through all the things to make this happen and it didn’t save.
We were back to square one and it was devastating, to say the least. We handled it really well and we knew we would do it again but it took us a while to have the desire to go back to it again.
We backslid a little during that time because we didn’t have a plan in place. Then all of a sudden Blaine came to me and he was like “Alright let’s try this again.”
And that’s when I asked about the paper envelope system because what we were doing wasn’t working. And he was finally game.
Finding what works
I will tell you now that the paper envelope system Dave Ramsey talks about works. 100% do it. That’s all you need to know. The first month we did it we saved $800.
Paper envelopes were working for us but then the pandemic hit and no one wanted to use paper bills. We had to change when places started not accepting cash.
While that was happening, I was learning the most incredible finance system for my business that I talk about in Episode 128. It helped me address the fears and negative money mindset issues so I could manage money coming into my business.
This new system from Mike Michalowicz called Profit-First was a percentage-based allocation system. And I used it to manage the cash flow in my business based on percentage allocation and I was amazed at how unbelievably successful it is.
The work we did at that marriage retreat was an attempt to do the same in our personal finances. We weren’t doing it with percentages, we were doing it with actual dollar amounts. As much as I loved it for my business I love it that much more for our personal finances. It is the system that got us on the same page.
It was a long journey. We had to work really really hard to get on the same page regarding our finances. It might be a journey for you too and it can take a lot of time.
The Fail-Proof Budgeting System
So in a nutshell here’s how this all goes down. Blaine and I have an account for every single envelope that we would have had if we were using paper envelopes. Wait you have how many accounts? We have a lot of accounts.
It doesn’t follow the exact system of Profit First by Mike Michalowicz because he is set up for business. We came to find that with a spreadsheet and percentages we take 100% of our income, and we break it down to how much of it needs to go to housing, food, utilities, holidays, etc. in a percentage.
Declining balances for sinking funds
We looked at what is our typical spending behavior for all of the holidays in the year and we put ourselves on a budget. Whenever it’s time to have any kind of celebration, that bank account with an associated debit card. We pull the card out and we know there is enough money sitting in it.
It’s just like an envelope because when the money runs out the card declines. We specifically set it up to where there’s no overdraft protection on any of our cards except for the ones that pay our bills electronically.
Inside of our utilities account we have bills that come out every month such as the gym, Baylie’s school, ect. We do not have access to that account with a card. We know if we put X percent into the utility account and never touch it without fail there will be enough money in there.
In our home account, we have our mortgage coming out. The money that we use to pay for anything inside of the house comes out of that account and so on and so on.
This has allowed Blaine and I to have freedom in the way that we are personally using our money.
Now to give you a little bit better understanding of what this actually looks like, we open up a shared Google Drive, and every single week Blaine and I go over it.
All of our money comes into an incoming account and then all of that money gets allocated out based on percentages to every other account that we have. It’s simply done with a series of electronic bank transfers.
These are the buckets or accounts that we have and love and they’re working so well for us. We have a giving, savings, food, transportation, utilities, home, spending, school, and celebrations account.
Why We Love Percentages
Here is why I love percentages so much more than dollar amounts. It has encouraged Blaine and me to make more money. Hands down it has encouraged us to work really hard. When I plug in our net income on the spreadsheet and you see what it spits out you’re like “Oh wow so this is what we need to make in order to hit our minimum goals.”
Because when you make more money regardless the same percentage of that amount is going to be put more into that account. So we’ve been able to see every single one of these buckets receive more money in it than what we actually need because it’s percentage base. It is so darn encouraging it blows my mind.
The Budgeting Spreadsheets
At the end of every week, we do payday. We plug our numbers into the spreadsheet and automatically get the percentage of each specific number that we are going to allocate to each account. We do the transfers, and boom, done. It takes us about 10 minutes.
We created a second tab on our spreadsheet that talks about our percentage breakdown. In that tab, we listed out each account and then listed all the expenses associated with each account. Under transportation, we have annual registration, insurance, gas, etc. We look at the total on that and we can see what percentage of our monthly income we need to allocate to this to be able to sufficiently pay these bills and set aside money.
Everyone’s percentages are going to be different but your buckets will be the same. Once we line item out everything that needed to go inside of each of these accounts it helped us to be able to create our percentages.
We’re doing really great with this. It’s been really good. It has really curbed our destructive behaviors and has been so insanely successful that I had to share it with you.
Take these notes and put them into practice. I hope this blesses you, your marriage, and your finances. If you want the spreadsheet, the coaching, and the support on how to put this fail-proof system into your life along with all the other systems in business, motherhood, self-care, and marriage, get inside of the Systemize Your Life Academy. We really hope you join us!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find the time to do all the work to make this budgeting system work in my marriage?
Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact answer to that one! But fortunately, I do have a free time-blocking workbook to help you figure out where to squeeze in the extra marriage session and how to organize the rest of your schedule efficiently (if you need it)! This should enable you to consistently show up towards making your marriage work week after week, and day after day. And as always, don’t forget my free Facebook community group if you need more guidance. Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!