How to use 22seven to manage the family budget

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I’m a mom in a busy family of four and it’s go-go-go from 6am (sometimes 5am!) until lights-out. I don’t have time to make spreadsheets and track our expenses manually, but I still want an accurate view of what we’re spending money on as a family, and whether it’s in line with our budget.

That’s why I use 22seven. Here are the five features I use the most – maybe they can help you, too.

1. One view of all our accounts

His, hers, theirs and ours. We link all our relevant accounts to 22seven, which enables us to see everything in one place. For me, this is probably the most useful feature for our family. If I had to log into all the different bank and investment websites and pull statements, then combine all the numbers again, I don’t think I’d ever get as far as making a budget.

2. Transactions are automatically categorised

22seven automatically categorises transactions. It even remembers if you select something to go into a certain category and it will categorise that purchase accordingly the following month.

Occasionally, my partner and I go through the transaction list to see whether we agree on what has been allocated where. Sometimes we make small tweaks, like changing a specific Woolies purchase from groceries to clothing, for example, or splitting a Clicks purchase between personal care and gifts.

3. Show me the budget!

As a family, we usually set our budget for each category for the year in advance, considering things like birthday parties, holidays, gifts and school fees. By going through this exercise using 22seven, we know which months we might spend more and we can prepare for them by saving.

Surprise parties are great, but money surprises are not…

4. Spending alerts

The app sends alerts when we’re approaching our limits in our budget categories. These alerts are super useful because they prevent us from overspending. For example, we’ve set an alert for ‘Eating out and take-aways’. Once we’ve reached the cap for that month, sorry kids, KFC will have to wait until next month!

5. Exporting transactions

Sometimes, you might need a record of certain transactions. I’m our class rep and I have to keep track of which parents have contributed to the teacher’s end-of-year gift, for example. Once a year, my tax guy also asks for a log of certain expenses.

22seven gives you the option to export your transactions instantly, so you can add them to a spreadsheet or send them to the person who needs them.

Don’t wait, start now

Creating a budget and sticking to it has changed our lives. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to be perfect on day one – you just need to start. When we started, we just tracked our recurring expenses for a couple of months to get a broad idea of what we were spending our money on. From there, we explored the other functions of the app and set up budget categories and saving goals.

If you know what you’re working towards, a budget is liberating, not limiting! Give it a try – if we can do it, so can you.

Apart from being a wife and mom of two, Carol is a Certified Financial Planner and part-time writer for 22seven.

She is passionate about making personal finance easy to understand, even for people with no financial background.

22seven helps her to manage her household budget like a pro.