My wife & I have both always worked but a year ago we had our first child and we wanted to take full advantage of my wife’s maternity leave. Starting a family was pretty stressful financially. We didn’t know how expensive it was going to be to look after our child, we were operating on one income for the first time ever, and to be honest we didn’t really know where we were spending our money.
We have a shared bank account that we put money into and I’m the one who is primarily responsible for managing our expenditure. In the past, I would get a credit card statement and I would have a bunch of different highlighters and I would try to get a sense of where we spent our money. It was really time consuming and I never really got a satisfactory answer. It didn’t satisfy me, and it certainly didn’t give my wife the answers she wanted!
We always felt we were spending more money than we were really comfortable with, but we didn’t know why. In the first month of using Money Dashboard as soon as we got it set up, we were able to answer that question. It gave us a really good sense of what we were spending and we were then able to budget much better.
— Ewan McCowen (@ewanmccowen) October 19, 2016
We hope things are starting to level out again Ewan!
We always had an inkling that we were spending too much on takeaways, too much going out to the pub, eating out and going out with friends. That was reflected in stark black and white to us when we set up Money Dashboard. One of the reasons I’m such a big fan of it is because it took me from an unknown situation to a known situation and having that information gave me options.
My wife and I looked at how we spent as a household, and were able to decide if we wanted to carry on spending like we had been. It helped us bring our expenditure under control and adapt our behaviour a little bit. One change we made was to make going out a bit more of a special occasion and we decided to focus a lot more on eating in and spending time together with home cooked food. One of the really nice things that we discovered was that we didn’t have to change our lifestyle a huge amount to save quite a lot of money – and one of the outputs was that we were actually able to renovate our bathroom which previously was an impossible task.
“We didn’t have to change our lifestyle a huge amount to save quite a lot of money…”
Having Money Dashboard has been great, especially when Mara came along. Everything that was going on around us was new. There was so much going on! Not having to worry overly about the amount of money we were spending or where was a real stress reliever. If you took Money Dashboard away from me I genuinely think I’d be really lost. It would be very difficult to plan for all the things that me and my wife really enjoy: spending time with friends & as a family, going on holiday, eating what we want to eat… basically doing what we want to do!
This article was adapted from an interview with Ewan. Want to tell us your story? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!