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Budgeting woes.......



I am driving myself crazy with the budget. We have 2 seperate checking accounts with our CU. A main checking where all our money is deposited. From there I transfer funds to several and I mean several different savings account and a seperate checking account. Everything except groceries gets paid or withdrawn from this account. The other checking is for our grocery spending, this I like, it works out good for us because it allows DH to buy items as needed.


What I'm finding to be a huge pain is all the savings accounts. Here they are; Med/Rx, Tax/insurance, gifts, clothes, car repair, house repair, vet. The beginning of each month I transfer the designated amount to each savings, then as money is spent it then needs to be transferred back to the checking. Ridiculous right??!! In one day this can add up to several transfers from different savings, if I buy a gift, a prescription, a house item, etc, etc.........AAAGGGHHHHHHH !!!


I hate this system, I am constantly transfering money back and forth and here and there!!!! Even with all the savings there are things that still fall through the cracks so it not even that efficient. I want simplicity but I don't know how to manage it all. If I just leave it all in the checking how do I keep track of what's available for each different category. I tried to do it on paper but it was hard to keep up with it all. Plus seemed like double work, writing it in the check book register then on paper.


I only have an iPad so I'm very limited with budgeting programs. Eventually I would like to get a laptop and use YNAB or something similar but in the meantime I'm just not sure what to do.


I don't know why I have to make it all so complicated. Suggestions PLEASE!!


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Can you just create a spreadsheet (you should be able to do this on your iPad...try Google Drive) and track each category? You'd have it all in one lump sum in a single savings account, but you'd know $XX out of $YYY is for medical, $ZZ out of $YYY is for gifts, etc.

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Why not take a piece of paper, write your income at the top and the expenses below that.  Any "Savings" just don't get spent.  For 36 years, we've only had one checking account and one savings account.  Sometimes simplicity is best.  Sounds like you were trying to make savings accounts work like the envelope system.

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We do the same thing as GLG, only I use one of those "ledger account" books to keep track of everything. I'll see if I can give an example:


Say I need to move $100 from checking to savings for sinking funds (in reality is it much more!). The "savings book" page looks like this:


January 2015


$25  taxes  $100    (the first amount is the amount entered in each month. The 2nd amount is the total in that "account")

$25  gifts    $50

$25  water  $125

$25  med    $200



I'm sure you get the idea. I also write in the side when it is paid out w/ the total. Most months things just carry over, others, things happen & the money moves. I like using the book b/c it is all in one place for a few years. You could use a steno pad too, or a regular notebook.


For gifts, if you are buying a lot each month (we don't have that problem), you could always keep an envelope at home instead of moving the money each week.


Good luck!


Edited to add--each page starts a new month, carrying over totals, which is why I use a smaller book than an 8.5x11 notebook

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YNAB has an app, I use the Android one but I'm sure they have one for Apple as well.


It syncs with YNAB on the web whenever you connect to WI-FI, so anything you update on your iPad will update on your computer.


I seriously love having all of my sinking funds set up in YNAB.  I have the large/longer-term ones (FFEF and car replacement only) in savings and the rest stay in the checking account.  This saves me from transferring money frequently between accounts.  It sounds like what you are doing is a bit cumbersome. 

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GLG, you hit the nail on the head!! I actually do like you said, income listed at the top, each expense subtracted right down the list. That part I get, it's tracking everything beyond that.


Create a spread sheet? That's a good question, my skills are very limited in that area, but I'm willing to learn. I make very simple forms at work but nothing that needs calculations. I think an actual budget program would be better for me.


So basically everything in one account and a seperate ledger that tracks what's available for each specific category. Sounds good, sounds simple enough, but implementing it is a whole other story!! I'll move everything to one account, I may keep one savings for the periodic expenses. I also like our seperate checking for groceries, DH uses this account so I like that there is only so much each month in the account to spend.


Thanks all suggestion are helpful!!

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I do the same basic thing as Germaine.  Now that I've firmly allocated most of my 2014 "special project" money, I have 22 different savings categories.


I have a spreadsheet (and technically it could be done by hand on a columnar pad) that has a column for each category.  Each month has a beg bal, savings, spending, interest and ending balance.


The sum of the balances = the total in my savings accounts.


I would go crazy trying to manage a ton of specific savings accounts and needing to transfer money around.

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Dorothy, I am going crazy!!! It is all just a mess right now. My challenge for 2015 is to simplify my life in all areas, I'm starting with the budget.

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This is actually the best thing about YNAB, the way it tracks every single category from month to month.  We save for Christmas(and other things) all year in our regular checking account, YNAB tracks it and when we start buying Christmas presents we just use our debit card, no transfers, no fuss.  And YNAB tracks it on the spending side as well.  I would go crazy if I actually had to track actual bank transfers back and forth all month long.

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We do the same as Germaine, except it's a checking account, not a savings account.  (Our bank charges for withdrawls from savings after so many per quarter... not so with checking)  We actually have three for our budgeting.... one for the rentals to keep that side of things away from our "home budget" (which has it's own spreadsheet/sinking funds for taxes and insurance as well as repairs),  then the account with the EF and sinking funds, and finally the working account that we pay bills out of.  


I like the checking instead of savings, because I can simply write a check/atm card from that account, then when I get home deduct that amount from that sinking fund.  No more transfers required.  =0)


The important thing is to find something that works easily for you.  Not everyone "sees" everything the same way, something that is so simple for me, may seem very complicated to you, and visa versa.


Good luck!  =0)

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I like having the money in the checking too. We have the same issue with transfers, which is another issue with my whole set up!


Ok big step, I transferred all funds except the medical/Rx and tax/ insurance accounts, for now. I think I'll move the Med/Rx money over, we don't have many expenses in that department. But I want to think on it a bit longer. I do like to have a seperate fund for our bigger periodic expenses so I may leave that as is.


Phew, that was scary......haha, no just kidding, I feel lighter already!


I'm strongly considering taking the YNAB leap. There is a free trial period right?

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Yes, there's a free 34 (I think) day trial.


Don't buy the app until you're sure, the app is an additional few $ once you have the program.

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I have a checking account & 2 savings accounts.  Checking is for everyday expenses & bills.  Most of my paycheck is deposited to checking.  I then have a "Long term savings" where the FFEF lives.  I also have a "Short term savings" that gets a large deposit each paycheck.  This account is my BEF & sinking.  It is linked to my checking account also "just in case".  When semi-annual or annual bills come or we have unexpected expenses, I transfer out of this account as needed.  This still keeps the FFEF in tact & "untouchable" unless it is a true emergency.  When short term savings gets large, I transfer some over to Long Term Savings.

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I have two checking accounts and two savings accounts. I use one checking account as our main account, and one holds our sinking funds. One savings account holds our ffef and the other is empty and doing nothing.


I put all the sinking funds into one checking account for two reasons: no charges when I need to withdraw money and I can use a debit/check as needed.


I run a very simple excel spreadsheet that has our monthly snowballs and all account balances on the left and all the sinking funds with their balances in the right. I update it twice a month via my ynab totals. I like having it separate from ynab just in case of a computer glitch and because it allows me to project the rest of the year based on actual numbers.

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