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Taking up this 50/50 Challenge has given me some food for thought.

We’re looking to optimize our monthly expenses this month, so I thought it would be helpful to pull up our family budget and look at it line by line.

Optimizing Our Family Budget

We’ve had the same basic budget since we’ve been married (8 1/2 years). Sure, we adjusted or tweaked it when we became parents, but the general structure is there.

While I’m proud that overall it has helped us getting closer to our goals, I wonder if we could do better.

Trying Out EveryDollar and Zero Based Budgeting

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We hope to be debt free except for the mortgage by the end of the year and right now, we most likely won’t make it.

I decided to run the numbers again, this time using EveryDollar to plan things out.

EveryDollar is a budgeting and financial goal tracking tool from Dave Ramsey, personal finance guru and author of best selling book The Total Money Makeover.

In fact, EveryDollar is designed around the baby steps, making it easy for you to get started with a starter emergency fund, pay off your debts, and grow your net worth.

(If you haven’t read the book, there’s a tab on the left side of your budget to give your the basics of the plan.)

With Every Dollar, you give every dollar a purpose at the start.This system helps you account for every dollar each pay period.

Once the income and expenses are cleared, you have a accurate idea of where your budgets needs fixing, either with improving expense estimates or plugging a money leak.

Using the EveryDollar tools I came up with a budget that paid all of the bills, set aside savings (buffer), and increased our debt payment.

That’s because when I saw the numbers and charts on the page, I saw we could tightened up in a few areas, like eating out.

I’ll run the numbers by my husband to see what he thinks and if I missed anything, but I like this August budget.

Get More Budget Help with EveryDollar Plus

While the free tool works fine for me, you may want to unlock more. You can upgrade your account so your checking and savings sych up with EveryDollar, helping you stick with your goals easier.

You can try EveryDollar Plus out for 15 days to see if it is a good fit for you. It’s only $99/year.

Thoughts on Family Spending and Budgets

I’d love to hear how you’re doing with the family budget.

How many of you have a spending plan? How often do you two update it? What’s really worked well for you? What hasn’t?

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About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..