Q&A With Our Freaking Budget

Our Freaking Budget

^FYI -That's not the Williams family

Today, I want to introduce you to a really awesome family: Joanna, Johnny, and Sally from Our Freaking Budget. I wish I could remember how I first stumbled on their site, but I was instantly entertained. Like the Williams family, they're a young family trying to make the most of their hard-earned cash. Joanna is a recent stay-at-home mom.

You can imagine the witty humor that comes with a blog titled "Our Freaking Budget." After introducing myself to them, we thought it would be fun to do a collaboration so that you could have another source of budgeting inspiration. So, let's get into the Q&A...

What caused you to start y(our) freaking budget? (Both the blog and the budget)

A few months before college graduation, we realized we were about to exit the grace period on making payments, and a budget (as despised as it was) would probably help prepare us for that day. A short while later, a friend lent us The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Besides making us feel like terrible, vain, keeping-up-the-Jones-ers, it helped us feel like our financial future was completely up to us. We spent the next two years paying off $20k in student loans, building an emergency fund, and doing it all in one of the most expensive cities in the country — NYC.
We started the blog about a year after we'd become debt free and just a month before we entered the wide world of parenthood. We wanted to hold ourselves accountable to our freaking budget and goals, and since we both enjoy writing and design as a creative outlet, a blog seemed like the way to go. It's been really fun learning, commiserating, and sharing with a community of fellow millennials trying to figure all this money stuff out.

How long have you been budgeting?

Since the beginning of our marriage, we've always tried to live within our means, but we didn't actually start tracking our spending and keeping an itemized budget until a couple years into our marriage. While it's been a source of stress and anger at various times (especially when shoes are on sale for Joanna and LEGOs for Johnny), we've never looked back once. Our finances wouldn't be where they are today without our love/hate relationship with our budget.

What budgeting tools (applications) do you use?

For our day-to-day spending, we use HomeBudget, a budgeting app that requires manual entry for every.single.expense. It's tedious, but it helps us to constantly look at our budget and truly "feel the pain." (I promise we're not masochists.) We like Mint and other automatic budget trackers, but we've found that they're not as effective for keeping us on track. Manually tracking our expenses help us avoid relying on checking Mint at the end of the month and crossing our fingers that we didn't go overboard on anything.

What is your least favorite budget category to save for?

We both have a really hard time justifying buying clothing because it's so expensive. So we just don't wear any. Kidding. The whole idea of spending money on clothing seems so frivolous, and yet, we both enjoy having nice clothes and looking nice --- who doesn't? Once or twice a year, after our closet has looked very sad for months, we usually give in and buy ourselves a few shirts or something.

What budget category gives you the most trouble each month?

Food. We've made huge strides to get this category down over the last few years, but throw in a 30-pound 18 month old girl in the 99th percentile of height and weight and we're scratching our head on ways to save some months.

What financial goal are you currently working toward?

For the last few years, we've been saving up for a house. But we're not feeling particularly house hungry just yet, so we still don't know when the day will come that we'll sign our lives away on a mortgage. We're continuing to add to that fund each month. And while we're committed to remaining a one car (and scooter) family for as long as possible, we're also considering replacing our Toyota Corolla with a more snow-friendly car before the Utah winter smacks us in the face again this year.

Well, there you have it. Be sure to hop on over to Our Freaking Budget and keep up with how they're doing. Their writing makes personal finance entertaining! Not always an easy thing to do.

I've answered some similar questions on their blog today as well. Check it out and let us know what other questions you have in the comments.