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You might be familiar with the “envelope system” of budgeting: You decide — at the beginning of the month — how much you want to allocate to each spending category, and you put cash into an envelope for each category. You spend money out of the envelope, and when you run out of money in an envelope, you either A) stop spending in that category; or B) transfer money from another envelope into that envelope. The point of it is that (in the words of Dave Ramsey) you’re “giving every dollar a job.”
If envelope budgeting sounds like a familiar approach, it’s because that’s the model we used when we built PearBudget.
The problem with envelope budgeting is two-fold:
- It can be a little challenging if you want to use debit/credit cards. (That’s a plus for some people, actually.)
- Two, you don’t have a longitudinal record of your spending. So you might know that you spent $200 on gas this month, but you don’t necessarily know what you spent on gas last summer. Having a historical record can be really useful, especially as you begin to repeat annual cycles.
PearBudget resolves both of these problems. PearBudget plays well with both paper and plastic, and it gives you a record, so you can see how your per-category spending changes over time.
Anyway, as Meredith’s been using PearBudget, she’s been seeing how well it complements a traditional envelope budgeting approach. And, as she notes, she’ll “never go back to Quicken again.” Again: we’re giddy.
To read her full post, just head on over: Easiest Budget I’ve Ever Made: Pear Budget.