Envelope system - multiple current accounts?

(31 Posts)
TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 20-Jul-15 11:16:21

Hi, not really sure what to do. DH and I share one joint account for everything. We have zero savings and 1 credit card with about £3000 on it. blush I have used YNAB before but the free trial expired and DH didn't think we should pay for it. He made his own version of a spreadsheet but it's a pain to enter things into it on our phones, so it doesn't get done.

Is using more than one current account a good idea? Such as, one for direct debits/standing orders (all the fixed costs in a month), and then one for food/petrol, and another for things like entertaining the kids, clothes, nights out etc. Or will we just wind up in even more of a mess that way? I'm particularly worried that if we were broke we'd take out overdrafts on all the accounts and end up much further in debt.

OP’s posts: |
lougle Mon 20-Jul-15 12:26:23

Convince your DH to pay for YNAB!

Iamnotanugget Mon 20-Jul-15 14:33:03

I use the 'good budget' app. The first 10 envelopes are free. I use these for petrol, birthdays, food, Christmas, holiday spends and general spending. So for example if my mortgage, utilities etc came to £500 per month and my one off bills like house insurance are £120 per year and I had £1000 coming in each month then I put £10 aside for the house insurance, £500 aside for the other things and divide the remaining £490 across those categories. Some months I spend nothing from that envelope so the amount in it rolls over meaning that in theory there'll be some money waiting to be spent come Christmas, birthdays and holidays. Hth.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 20-Jul-15 16:11:59

Right, have downloaded the Good Budget app. I'm going to have to wait until payday to really use it because we are pretty much penniless until the 29th, but I've set up some envelopes. I've got:

Fixed bills (rent, council tax, utilities, phone bills, TV licence etc)
Credit card payments
Kids' expenses (softplay, clothes, special trips)
DH spending
My spending

plus the annual Saving one that was suggested by the app.

I like the bars that show how much of the envelope you've spent! That's what I need, I think.

OP’s posts: |
TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 20-Jul-15 16:12:32

Meant to start with thanks for the recommendation, Iamnotanugget!

OP’s posts: |
dun1urkin Mon 20-Jul-15 16:15:54

I have spreadsheets for all my personal and our joint finances. Log in to bank / building society and credit card every Monday and do an update. The only flaw in this is when we've withdrawn cash and can't remember what it was spent on hmm
What's the benefit of an app? wondering if I want/need one now grin

tribpot Mon 20-Jul-15 16:18:44

I would also stump up for YNAB. But in the meantime, I would look at taking maybe a basic bank account like this one from the Co-op - allows you to separate out spending cash from bills cash and as it has no overdraft facility, prevents you from getting lured in by credit.


TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 20-Jul-15 16:29:12

Dun1urkin, the idea behind the app is that you can quickly add transactions as you go. Eg: spend £15 in tesco, put it straight into your app and it deducts automatically from your food budget. It's pretty much just spreadsheeting, but I've tried entering every spend in a spreadsheet on my phone and it was a total pain in the arse because I couldn't select the right cell easily and kept getting the wrong one. I kept forgetting to log in to update my spreadsheet, too! Besides, DH and I can do a heck of a lot of damage in a week. hmm

Tribpot, thanks! That's be Plan B, I think - will try the GoodBudget app first. I think DH has a basic Halifax account still with nothing in it.

OP’s posts: |
WhoisLucasHood Mon 20-Jul-15 16:49:23

I have the separate bank acs for DDs and savings and current ac for cash. It works for us but then I also use a spreadsheet to check everything is OK.

dun1urkin Mon 20-Jul-15 19:10:13

Too thank you. I'll have a look into it.

Oodear Mon 20-Jul-15 19:50:28

We've loads of separate accounts and standing orders moving it around.
I use the bank app to move from the accounts to CC/Spending account when I want to buy something other than food

specialsubject Mon 20-Jul-15 20:05:54

don't pay for something that primary school maths can sort. No app will stop you spending, that's your job.

get a piece of paper and make a list. In that kind of hole you need to stop nights out and new clothes for adults. Let me know when you run out of clothes, I should live so long...

(obviously kids grow and so need new clothes!)

are you hammering your expenditure? Energy tariffs checked? Driving style examined? Insurances compared and changed every year? No magazines, books, pubs, nights out? Zero food waste? No adult Christmas or birthday presents?

Tartanthrifty Tue 21-Jul-15 07:40:17

I have been using multiple bank accounts to manage our money for years and am in awe of anyone who can manage without - I don't think I could keep track without them. All our accounts are with the same bank (Co-op) so we have an account with an overdraft that pay goes into and bills come out of, but all the other ones are simple accounts like the one Tribpot suggested. So, for example, we have one that money goes into each month for car repairs and holidays, ones for 'pocket money' for DH and me so we don't dip into the common pot for things like buying clothes, treats, etc., one for putting a little by each month for the kids' shoes and clothes so it's there when we need it and so on. We pay most things by direct debit/standing order so that we keep track of that through our online banking. A couple of years ago I set the bank as my browser home page so that the first thing I do every time I go online is to check our bank accounts are all in the black. This has made a big difference in staying in control of spending. You don't have to have loads of money to benefit from having loads of accounts - the less we had the more important managing it easily became. Back when we actually had money, we only had one account and muddled through: couldn't do that now!
Main thing is that you are doing something to take control of your finances - anything you do is better than doing nothing so you are on the right track.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Tue 21-Jul-15 07:45:36

I've had NY system for years so it predates mobile phones and apps
I have 2 current accounts a savings account and an isa
One current is for every day stuff the other us for all bills so my wage goes into the everyday account and a fixed amount goes out into the bills to cover that
Savings account is for holidays, sudden car/house repairs or unexpected bills
The isa is for long term savings

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Tue 21-Jul-15 07:46:03

My system not NY

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 21-Jul-15 08:46:27

Specialsubject, I'm not worried about running out of clothes! Hammering my expenditure - um, no. Starting this month we will be! Switched energy tariff yesterday from £38 a month with Scottish Power down to £29 with GB Energy. That's electricity only - we've got oil-fired central heating and that's down to £100 a month, which is actually good. hmm Not sure what you mean by driving style - can you elaborate? My ancient banger car failed its MOT a couple of months ago and we're trialling having only one, so I'm saving on insurance and tax atm. We need one car because we live 3 miles from any public transport and have 2 kids under 4. I haven't checked my contents insurance or pet insurance recently - will look into that. Neither of us read magazines or go to the pub except for maybe one work night out every 2 or 3 months. We socialise at people's houses and take a bottle of wine - and due to the aforementioned small kids, it's not that often. Books are a big expenditure, though - will go back to Kindle Unlimited and the free stuff. Food waste we're not good at. We've just started a new diet (low-carb) and are definitely buying less crap, but we're buying lots of fresh veg that goes off before we can eat it. I'll work on that. Our downfalls are buying top-up food (from a financial and weight point of view), books and DH's online game. We've agreed to just stop spending from now on - no more buying anything that isn't food/diesel, and no buying junk food or gaming. We have a decent joint income - we just spend it all and then some!

Tartan, that's just the trouble - we aren't managing! I'm going to try one month using the app to really monitor what we're spending - I'll check my bank balance every day and make sure I enter everything into the app. If that doesn't work then I'll get another account so that bills can be separate. I've got an empty savings account and an empty ISA. hmm We're supposed to be saving up for a deposit (in the longer term) and hopefully our first holiday in 5 years next year. PIL have invited us to go with them and they'll pay for the accommodation.

OP’s posts: |
threenotfour Tue 21-Jul-15 08:59:37

If books are your downfall then use your local library. Just put a reminder with an alert on to your phone for a couple of days before they are due back then return or renew them. This can be done online or by automated phone line now so it's much easier. Books can be ordered in too so you are not reduced to the selection in the library only. Some authories reserving is free and some there is a charge of approx. 50p-£1. Much cheaper than buying new books or even second hand ones.
Regarding bank accounts I can't see a problem if you get accounts that have no overdraft.

meglet Tue 21-Jul-15 09:03:04

years ago there was a high street current account that let you do this. Have several offshoot accounts linked to your main one so you could have one for car, house maintenance, holidays etc. I really wish all Internet banks would do it, would make my life such easier.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 21-Jul-15 09:17:23

I shall nick books from my sister. grin I am not very good at libraries either because if I find a book I love I want to keep it and re-read it a million times. However, there are zillions of free classics on Kindle, so I shall improve the quality of my literature. I feel a Wilkie Collins spree coming on!

We're considering ditching the landline and just using our mobiles. We mostly Skype our parents/siblings etc, so we don't really need a landline.

Meglet, that's exactly what I'd like. I wish banks did that now.

OP’s posts: |
MargolottaOfUberwold Tue 21-Jul-15 10:42:56

Meglet, I have that with Lloyds

one main current account which DD etc go out of, all money goes in there on payday, then smaller amounts come out straight away into other accounts named for car insurance, car tax, house insurance, holiday saving, new boiler fund etc etc.

Leaving enough money for DD and 10% float.

DH and I also have some money transferred into personal accounts for commuting costs and groceries.

Can move it all around on the mobile app.

Myturnnow4 Tue 21-Jul-15 11:56:11

Too I have just reboosted my loyalty ISA and opened a Regular Saver with HSBC. Each of these, with certain conditions, pays in £10 a month for the first year.

specialsubject Tue 21-Jul-15 12:23:52

a good start, OP!

oil fired heating; NEVER use direct debit/regular payment systems. Monitor the price (as mentioned it is still dropping) and tank up when it is low. If you need to save up to do that, fine, but save up in your own account, you could even earn a few drops of interest with a current account. If you use the regular payment systems you don't take advantage of price drops, they do. Also shop around for every fill up. The minimum is 500 litres, sometimes buying more works out cheaper but not always. Sometimes there are local co-op schemes to buy in bulk, which may work out cheaper but not always. Be wary of boiler juice etc.

I'm also on oil and electricity, our monthly electricity bill is £27 so welcome to my frugal club. :-)

you mentioned contents insurance; does that mean you are renting so don't pay buildings insurance?

driving style; this is the biggest way to save fuel assuming you aren't in a 3 litre Ferrari. smile. First thing is to use the car as little as possible. Second is to combine trips, never go for just one errand. But equally don't drive round the town, park once and walk. Get rid of all unnecessary weight from the car; roof rack off, clutter out of boot. If it has a big tank only fill it half way. Finally, look at how you drive; plan well ahead, don't brake-accelerate-brake, don't overtake unless something is stationary. Don't risk life and fuel overtaking, you WILL only be one car ahead at the next roundabout. On a motorway, left lane and a steady 60mph.

you know what you have to do with food waste. Buy in season, buy what you use. Cook double or more, freeze half. If frozen veg is on offer, buy that; no waste and just as good for you. It is summer; know anyone with a garden or an allotment? They'll have a glut and be glad to help you.

hate to say it, but stop buying new books. Charity shop, fetes, library, kindle for e-library books. Or spend £30 on a second-hand Nook which works with library ebooks and pdfs. Free reading!

don't use savings accounts. If you want some real interest, start with a TSB Classic Plus account which pays 5% on up to £2k. Then add a Santander 123 which pays 3% on up to £20k and gives small cashback on bills, for a £2 a month fee. Both accounts need minimum monthly pay-ins; if salaries are not enough then simply set up a standing order to shift money between them. Don't bother with cash ISAs at the moment, the above accounts pay more even allowing for the tax.

Allgunsblazing Tue 21-Jul-15 16:26:15

OP, we each get paid in individual bank accounts. All the bills, food, petrol get paid from a joint account. So each pay day we put £1000 each in the joint account. When that's finished, it's finished, there is no more.
The rest of our salaries are free to use as we see fit. No idea about H's, but mine has 2 DD towards a regular super saver (£300/month-I get 6% interest on that) and £100 into ISA (shares).
I also have an everyday savings account. So whatever odd amount is on the end of a sum (say I have 434.45 in the current account) I sweep into the savings £4.45, once a week. The day before I get paid I 'empty' the current account into the savings and start all over again.

I don't buy anything unless it's been saved for. So, I need a duvet this winter, I am saving £200 for it. I used to pay cash for everything, but MN's wise financiers adviced me to use a credit card-I've just got my first. So, when I have £200 saved, I'll buy the duvet on CC and pay it at the end of the month. I opted for a John Lewis one because most if not all big purchases in my house come from JL. But I would never use the CC unless I have the money already.

SurlyCue Tue 21-Jul-15 16:31:06

Hi, if either of you are students YNAB will give you a free account for as long as you are studying. It says you have to send them a photo of your student card, however when i emailed to ask about getting a free account they just sent me the link to new account straight away and have never asked for my student card! Just saying wink

wheelycote Tue 21-Jul-15 16:36:40

Sorry not read all thread...wanted to jump in as I have multiple current accounts and use a bit like envelope system. It works for me really well. Would recommend it!

This looks extreme but it works for me. Each month all my incomings come in and then I distribute it out between accounts.

Have a current account for:
Direct debits, bills, standing orders
Food Shopping and general household buys
Clothing account (money for boys haircuts and mine also go in here)
One off account - Anything that is one off through the year...Christmas, birthdays, school uniform, house insurance etc
Events account - any money left over goes in here for treats for coffee, comedy show, cinema etc

Then I have a savings account for those 'oh s&*t moments'.

It looks really anal seeing it laid out but it means I know for sure I always have the bills paid (except this months blip lec and gas thing don't ask), money for Christmas etc, money for clothes when needed and can see if I can afford if can go out for food with friends


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