The 50/20/30 rule takes the sting out of budgeting. And it doesn’t make you track every single dollar. One way to keep yourself on track is by automating the 20% savings piece: set up transfers from checking to savings.
Sort all your expenses into three categories: Essentials, Flexibles, and Saving
The 50/20/30 budget says the ideal breakdown is this:
50% of your money goes toward basic needs or essentials (mortgage, health care)
20% is for the money you can use to pay for retirement and other big life goals and dreams
30% goes towards flexible expenses (dinner out, travel, and vacations)
Let’s start with the 50%. These are your bare-minimum expenses that keep the lights on in your life. Literally. Because utility bills are in this category. Along with things like:
Rent or mortgage
Gas and/or public transportation costs
Phone and Internet
Minimum debt payments
Savings and Dreams
Giving this part of your budget some love might feel like a sacrifice now. But ‘future you’ will be glad you did. Your 20% should include saving for emergencies, investing for retirement, and money for other life goals and dreams, like buying a home one day or going on a dream vacation...once we can travel again.
You can spend the last 30% of your take-home pay on those things or whatever else you want: 3D puzzles, subscription boxes for your dog. No judgments. Think of this as the ‘upgrade’ category: Groceries are a need, but ordering in is a want. Replacing your winter coat is a basic need, but extra clothes shopping falls into this bucket, too.
Travel / Vacations
Download the spreadsheet to help you organize!