Virtual envelopes …

I love this time of the year. It’s a time of great memories, warmth and family. But it’s also a time when your body is tired of rich food and craving veggies. You are ready to clear out the clutter as you store the new gifts. You are thinking ahead of new goals and challenges. Yup! New Year’s Day is just around the corner!

I work full-time as a computer programmer and one of my interests is personal finance. About 10 years ago, I wrote an application that lets me enter our bank deposits and then allocates the money to different categories that I set up. (Remember how grandma used envelopes to hold cash for various expenditures?) This application turned my checking account into a virtual envelope system. My kids loved it … I had a separate category for each of them and deposited money into these categories every week. Debits and checks were deducted from the appropriate category. Any time they needed new clothes, I had them check the computer to see how much money they had. They didn’t ask me if they could have money – they asked the computer! We did the same thing for eating out.

Each time Windows upgraded to a new version, I had to deal with hassles to keep it running. Finally my husband asked me to re-write it in a current language and to consider marketing it. We are testing the new version now and I am so excited!

Dave Ramsey teaches the envelope system and it works! The only problem is that I don’t do well with cash. I misplace it and either spend too much or give it away. Keeping everything in checking stressed me out because I never knew how much I could spend and still have enough to make the mortgage payment. Using this software got our finances under control. I can hold money for the semi-annual car insurance and the monthly mortgage and still know exactly how much I can spend on clothes! It doesn’t require bank account numbers which gives me more peace of mind. We are making great progress towards our financial goals.

Do you have challenges managing your day to day expenses?

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3 Responses to Virtual envelopes …

  1. Kim says:

    That sounds cool! I’d love something like that over physical envelopes, seeing as how I’m on the computer and I like everything online. Less paper – less clutter!

  2. leanandgreen says:

    Thanks Kim – I’m working on a version to market (for not too much money.) Stay tuned for the launch …

  3. I do the same thing. I have an excel spreadsheet and check my CC daily to see the balance and reconcile. Not a big deal, but i have spending targets for only a couple categories.

    Mostly because our bills are mostly fixed.

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