Life is expensive. Rent, gas, bills, loans, food- it all piles up and eats away at your hard-earned salary. And even if you’re frugal, you can’t avoid the emergency expenses that deplete your bank account when you least expect it. When so many necessities pull at your paycheck, is it even still possible to save up for the future?
It might not be so complicated after all! This simple budgeting hack can ease some of your financial worries and help you better prepare for the future. Here’s how to organize your budget so that you can be more effective with your money.
This ratio is a simple trick that will help you reach your financial goals. It divides your spending into three primary categories- needs, wants, and savings. The 50-30-20 rule allows you to be reflective about how you’re using your money. You can enjoy the benefits of spending while still being future-oriented and saving your money.
According to this hack, half of your income after tax should go to your essentials. This includes housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, healthcare, and groceries. These are the expenses that you can’t live without and come at the highest priority to pay off. Your “needs” should be budgeted before the other two categories since they are both dependent on your ability to fund your necessities.
After the essentials are paid, this rule suggests that you should allow yourself to spend no more than 30% of your income on wants. Your “wants” are anything that improves your quality of life, but isn’t necessary for survival. It’s important to enjoy your lifestyle, balancing work with self-care and entertainment. This portion of your budget may be used on events like concerts or live theater, even dining out with a group of friends. Home improvements are also included in this category, such as new throw pillows or bathroom remodeling.
Saving money is a crucial step in budgeting that is often overlooked. But it reaps the most reward. Savings can be used to pay off debt, give yourself a financial cushion in case of emergencies, and invest in your future.
The key to keeping “savings” a priority in your budget is to think ahead. What do you want in the future? Maybe you want to retire early, and have the means to travel freely for a few years. Maybe you want to invest in a small business idea, turning a side-gig from a pipe dream into reality. In any case, you need to be able to financially support yourself to accomplish your future goals. And that starts with your ability to save!
You don’t have to figure out the math on your own. If you simply input your monthly income after tax, you can calculate your own 50/30/20 budget here!