Family Budgeting: Is Your Bank Teller the Only One Managing Your Money?

The following post is from Brad, a web designer and father of quadruplets:

SourceL 4tunatedesign

Before the kids were born, Jen and I worked hard to live our lives on a budget. We were literally on a budget each month where we documented where every cent was going. It was something Jen introduced to me in our first few weeks of marriage, and it paid off both financially and maritally. I sincerely believe that those early days of budgeting spared us from much heartache.

What happened to our budget?

Five years ago quadruplet boys “happened” and everything about our lives and routines changed. This is probably the case for most couples when they have their first child, it may have even been magnified a bit for us with four. We were determined to hold things together and keep our marriage strong, but budgeting didn’t make the priorities list at that time.

We were so accustomed to living on a tight budget, that nothing much changed. We continued to look for good deals, cut coupons, and limit our spending through self-denial or delaying a purchase until we could accumulate some extra cash. There was no guilt about ditching the monthly spreadsheet for a season.

Spending changes

Fast forward 5 years and our children are reaching an age that not only includes education, but many potential expenses associated with activities outside the home. Things continue to be busy and we continued to put budgeting off.

Last month was the best profit month ever for my web design company, 4tunate Design. I was so excited and thankful to see my business growing. When we got to the end of the month and I looked at our balances, I was discouraged. What happened? We did save some money, but not nearly as much as I anticipated.

I decided it was time to find out what was happening. I copied every transaction from our online banking account for May over to a spreadsheet, then moved each expenditure over into a category. I am embarrassed to say that although we felt we were living frugally, our budget said otherwise. In reality, there were just a couple spending categories related to food that were out of balance.

Big lesson learned?

You always spend more money when you are not tracking it!

There is just no way to keep our spending reasonable unless we set a goal and stick to it. This month, we are back on a spending budget for the first time in years and it feels awesome! Have we denied ourselves some activities in the past couple weeks? Yes. Does is feel great to be in control of our spending and always know exactly how much we have spent? Feels Awesome!

I would encourage you, if you have never done it, or have not done it in a while, to draw up a budget. It’s proven fact that money disputes drive our marriages apart, and we owe it to the Lord, our children, and our spouses to get this part of our life in order. It takes a little bit to set it up the first time, but you will love that you did it!

Sample spreadsheet

I decided that you all might like to see the simple spreadsheet I created for our family budget. I have made a blank version of it available for you to view. It downloads very smoothly into Microsoft Excel too. There is really nothing to it, but I know sometimes it helps to have someone get you started.

Monthly Budget Spreadsheet (To download, click on File>Download as>Excel.)

What budgeting tools do you use to manage your money?

Brad is the father of four 5-year-old energetic quadruplet boys. He runs 4tunated Design from home which blesses him with the opportunity to be a nearly constant influence on them. Brad has a passion for leading his family biblically as a servant, and enjoys nearly every moment of it.
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