Most of us keep a monthly budget for our expenses. Well, unless you’re born financially blessed enough that you don’t need to monitor your cashflow. We all have different ways to keep track of our expenses and unwittingly, we go overboard most of the time. It’s also important to know if we’re allotting the right amount to fit our income and lifestyle. Of course it will vary per person since we have different needs and wants. Also, it depends where we live, who we support, and what we like to do.
When I was working, I make it a point to save half of my income monthly (I know.. half is a big chunk but I learned to live happily with the other half of my income). We sometimes think the income we receive is not enough. But sometimes, we just really need to look into what we need and not all we want. We also need to know that it’s not always the value that makes something important, good, and valuable. It’s beyond the monetary value. We just have to be wise spenders. Sometimes, less than half or sometimes more than half. But when there are more people in the equation, like your family, the entire budget pie changes.
How much is the ideal budget portions or allotment? I also wanted to know so I read about numerous budgeting tools and articles about it. After reading and gathering some details, here’s a summary that could help you check if you’re allotting the same percentages to the same fixed expenses. They could change through time like when the kids start to go to school.
- Housing – rent or payment for loan (if you loaned the property), salary of helpers, repairs, etc.
- Transportation – gas and car payments, car repair and maintenance
- Utilities – water , electricity, phone bills, cable, broadband
- Food – groceries, dine out
- Insurance – or maybe for other types of investments or time deposit savings
- Savings – for your retirement fund, travel fund, kids education fund
- Charity – donations and alms perhaps?
- Recreation – other activities with the family like movie nights, out of town trips, trip to the mall expenses like arcades, bowling, etc. You may include salon visits here or in personal category,
- Health – medicines and checkups
- Personal – stuff you want, gifts and other miscellaneous expenses like toys for the kids
- Clothing – dress well and always be presentable 🙂
You may create your own budget based on the above. I tried to come up with what we could possibly follow. Here it is. We’ll try not to go overboard by trying to be wise spenders.
Now that we have kids, we started saving up for them when we had our eldest. They have their own bank accounts where we put all cash gifts too and put a certain amount regularly. Everything is so unpredictable now (government, inflation, stock market, education, and trends) so saving for the “rainy days” are important. It’s also good to start them young by teaching them to use piggy banks. They are small moves but has a great impact to the kids as they grow up.
“The habit of saving is itself an education. It fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” – Thornton T. Munger