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How We’re Taking Charge of Our Finances

Although I’ve had my slip-ups in the past, I can say that I have been spending wisely more often than not. I am notorious for being the budget police because I record all our income and expenses. As in all of them–down to every centavo. Arjay kind of hates me for being that way because he can’t just buy whatever he wants. He’s a sucker for pets and gadgets. I am happy to report that this is now under control. LOL! And when he does buy something unplanned, he gets a sermon from me…with lots and lots of reminders why we agreed to plan our expenses in the first place.

Although it’s not very fun to have a budget police around, he is thankful, too, that I took charge of our finances because we were able to pay off our huge credit card debt two years ago, our expenses are controlled, and we have savings! We are also on our way to building our own house–all thanks to creating and sticking to a financial plan. All we have left to do is to invest on insurances–but we’ll have to review our financial plan to fit those in.

How did we take charge of our financial situation?

When Arjay and I got married, we were huge spenders. One kid + Two income streams + Living with my parents = Lots of unnecessary spending. It was six months into our marriage that we realized that we have no savings, no investments, and a huge credit card bill. That prompted us to evaluate our spending and create a financial plan.

The financial plan we created includes our income, our reduced expenses (we agreed to spend only on what is essential), the debt we need to pay off, the amount we need to save each month to acquire investments (i.e. a house and lot), and our savings. Once all these are set, we devised a monthly budget plan that is enough for our expenses, savings, debt, and future investments.

If you plan to pay off your debt in installments (like what we did), divide the amount into the number of months you plan to have to paid and commit to it. For instance, if you have credit card debt worth PhP12,000 and you plan to have it paid within a year, be sure to commit PhP1,000 a month to make sure that you’ll be debt-free by the end of the year. The same goes when saving for future investments.

spending trackerWhat really helped us stick to our monthly budget plan is MoneyBook. This is a free app you can download on your iPhone (I’m not sure if this is available for Android users though), which will document the flow of your money.

I absolutely love that aside from recording income and expenses, it also has a budget tracker. This wasn’t available when I first downloaded the app, but now it will show you how much of your monthly budget you have left! With that new feature, you won’t go over the budget for sure.

As you can see in the photo on the right, I have set our monthly budget to PhP36,799. This includes our groceries, bills, transportation expenses, and The Princess’ tuition. We’ve let go of all our credit cards already so we no longer worry about credit card debt! Yipee! We also shifted to automatic savings so we need not include that in this budget since our savings are automatically deducted from our income and sent to a separate account.

Super fast and super hassle-free, right?!

With all these things–spending trackers, automatic savings, etc.–easily available to us, taking charge of your finances is actually much easier now. All you need to do is take a step towards financial freedom and you’re already on your way there!

Have you taken charge of your finances, too? Care to share how you did it?

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42 Comments

  • Reply gwasyah

    This is just timely!
    I needed information about managing my finances..

    September 11, 2014 at 5:38 PM
  • Reply Expense IQ Android App | Mental Snapshots

    […] by Kim’s post about how she and her husband took charge of their finances, I decided to toughen up financially too. I started by looking for an expense tracker app like […]

    September 8, 2014 at 10:39 PM
  • Reply lally

    I should learn more about budgeting. It is really difficult if we have no savings at all. Mapupunta lahat sa utang ang mga sahod. We do have automatic savings account too, but unfortunately nagagamit din namin. We should really be discipline if we want to save.. Thanks for the enlightenment. 😀

    September 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM
  • Reply patriciacuyugan

    MrC and I have started getting our finances in order this year. We’re preparing to buy a place of our own. Yay!

    September 2, 2014 at 4:50 PM
  • Reply M

    This is very helpful, you could be a financier!

    September 2, 2014 at 12:35 PM
  • Reply Janice

    Taking charge of our finances is still something that we have to master. We’ve tried using Excel before but we eventually grew tired of updating it. I really hope this app is available on Android too so that I can try it out! 🙂

    September 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Excel is a bit boring for me. Hehe! MoneyBook is much easier to use and easier to access since it’s on mobile.

      September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM
  • Reply MommyPehpot

    still learning how to be a budget police..pero improving na kami! Dati sya naghahawak ng pera and BUDGET is not included sa vocabulary nya!! Pero ngayon, I do the budgeting pero hindi pa police level. Hopefully before the year ends maging strict na ako sa budget 🙂

    September 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM
  • Reply Nerisa / Baby Neo's Mama

    I use excel when “trying” to budget hehe Budgeting kasi entails a lot of planning and self-restraint talaga. I love the tip about reduced expenses though 🙂

    September 1, 2014 at 11:34 AM
  • Reply Maria Christeena Dulce Ansis

    This is really inspiring. 2 years to go and debt free na din kami, God willing. Right now, ambigat kase sabay sabay house, car, credit card payment arrangements, house bills, McKenzie.

    September 1, 2014 at 12:07 AM
  • Reply Nathalie

    I’ll look for this app on Android, or something similar if there’s none. I really really gotta keep a tight budget since I’m so prone to impulsive spending, especially about food. Tsk.

    August 31, 2014 at 11:14 PM
  • Reply Paulline Joy Flores

    Sakto naman that I read this kasi I’m trying out different apps to help me track our budget eh. I go and try this din.

    August 31, 2014 at 5:38 AM
  • Reply Nicole Cuerdo

    My husband and I were just talking about this. I regret that we do not have much savings yet, my son’s first year got us spending a lot, but now that I have a better paying job I’m pretty sure we’ll manage to take control of our finances soon. Will download the app and tinker with it, thanks for sharing!

    August 31, 2014 at 5:31 AM
  • Reply tweenselmom

    Kim, how do you do the automatic savings? I haven’t heard anything about that and I’m interested to learn, pls 🙂

    August 30, 2014 at 9:54 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      We have two automatic savings acct. Yung kay Arjay, salary deduction. Yung akin naman, I applied sa BPI. If you have a BPI account, go to BPIExpressOnline.com then enroll your main acct to BPI Automatic Savings. You can set the amount and how often you want money to be transferred to your autosavings acct. 🙂 This way, hiwalay money mo–yung sa main acct pang expenses, yung nasa auto savings pang savings talaga. Di basta basta magagalaw.

      August 30, 2014 at 10:28 PM
  • Reply missadventures

    Galing! I do all the budgeting for our expenses and savings but I think it’s my spending habit that really needs monitoring. Hahaha! I’m hoping to start my own online business pa naman and maybe also work from home na din. Hay naku!

    August 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Haha! Controlling the spending is really the hard part, lalo na pag ang daming temptation everywhere you look. 😀 I work from home–it was my income that turned our financial situation around. Mahirap kasi pag isa lang income.

      August 30, 2014 at 2:11 PM
  • Reply Emiliana Sison

    When I was still single, I invested on life insurances, pension plan, college plans and life plans. I am glad I did because now that I have my own family, all our family income goes to food, bills and medicine (my kid is asthmatic). It is hard to save for the future now.

    August 30, 2014 at 1:43 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      That’s good! What my husband vowed never to invest on are educational plans. He’d rather use automatic savings for the kids’ school fund, which we started saving for when they were born. His family is a victim of an educational plan disaster daw kasi so he doesn’t want to risk it anymore.

      August 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM
  • Reply The Vanilla Housewife

    I need to do this! My husband and I are working on eliminating our debts this year but I do not take note of all our expenses. Makes sense, it’s hard to keep track if it’s not written down. I hope the app is available for android!

    August 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      I’m not sure eh if it’s on Android. I hope it’s available though since it’s super helpful. To think that’s the lite version pa. I’m not sure what they have in store for paid users.

      August 30, 2014 at 2:06 PM
  • Reply Rina B. De Alban

    wow that takes a lot of discipline! which I don’t have, alas. numbers always make me feel iffy. but budgeting/financial planning is definitely a life skill one must acquire! good job!

    August 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      It does take a lot of discipline and sacrifice. We do have down times, like when we see other couples traveling almost every month. Ang iniisip na lang namin are our priorities now, which is a house.

      August 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM
  • Reply ceemee

    It’s super liberating to be debt-free. But, I dream of having our own home, and for sure, a loan would be needed. Haaaay! I need to work at home na talaga! Haha!

    August 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Pangpalakas ng loob: We were able to acquire a lot without a loan. 😉 Nagtiyaga lang kami sa monthly plus, since we were paying off a lot, I worked doubly hard in my work at home job. It paid off! As for the house, that’s when we’ll apply for a loan. Mahirap na yan. Haha!

      August 30, 2014 at 11:05 AM
      • Reply ceemee

        Wow! Kaya pala without loan! Haha! Mahal magpatayo ng house.

        August 31, 2014 at 8:44 AM
        • Reply Kim Reyes

          It is possible to buy a lot without a loan. Careful budgeting lang talaga and we had to sacrifice a lot of our luxuries. 🙂 But building a house is a different story haha! Mahal na yan.

          August 31, 2014 at 2:24 PM
  • Reply Kat | Petite Momma

    Before we got married, we talked about how we were going to handle our finances, and planned together. It’s important that both partners have the same financial goals. For us, we both believe in insurance at ayaw namin ng utang. Fast forward, Hubby relieved me from my post as CFO (chief financial officer), sya na ang CFO now, as I became a full-time COO (chief operations officer) of the house 😀

    August 30, 2014 at 2:22 AM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Naku, I’m the CFO and COO! Dapat double salary ako. 😀

      August 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM
  • Reply Mommy Jen

    Wow!!! That’s great Kim. I am hoping na ipahiram mo sakin ang patience and discipline mo jan para ako naman ang mag ganyan. heheheh!

    August 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM
  • Reply aine

    i learned the hard way when it comes to budgeting.. magiging budget police na talaga ako! and hopefully, si hubby din. 😀

    August 29, 2014 at 8:55 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Don’t worry because we learned the hard way too. There were lots of money wasted in the process, but now we’re happy to be on the right track. 🙂

      August 29, 2014 at 9:30 PM
  • Reply Razel Miranda

    I think not most wife can be budget police like us. Kasi my mga hubby na they wanted to budget the money themselves. Pero that was really cool surpassing the downside of credit card usage talaga. Kaya I always tell myself na Credit card is for emergency use only and not to be used as a shopping buddy. Mahirap na malunod sa utang. Haha nice tip thanks for sharing!

    August 29, 2014 at 7:59 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Yes, credit cards are only for emergencies–not for shopping. But we’ve let go of all our credit cards already. We have our emergency fund so when we do have emergencies, we can just use that money. Goodbye credit cards na kami! 🙂

      August 29, 2014 at 9:02 PM
  • Reply Rona Cuera-O

    Thanks for the tip 🙂 we need this for our baby as well 🙂

    August 29, 2014 at 4:45 PM
  • Reply Michelle Solee (@michisolee)

    Count me in. I’m a budget police too. Like you, I record our income and expenses but I still use notebook because I prefer to write. Even when we travel, nakasulat lahat ng expenses. 🙂

    August 29, 2014 at 4:40 PM
    • Reply Kim Reyes

      Yep, I do it too when we travel. I even create a separate sheet for the trip itself. LOL. Super OC but it’s worth it.

      August 29, 2014 at 9:00 PM

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