Friday, October 5, 2012

how i budget

For some reason, lately I've been talking a lot to friends about budgeting and how I handle my money versus how they handle theirs. I find it fascinating to hear how other people divvy up their paychecks and how they prioritize versus what I do. I could talk about these things for hours. Probably because deeply at the root of my being is one simple fact:

I love money.

I love making it, I love spending it, and I love saving it.

I know that in order to have the life I dream of I need to be smart about my money. No one is going to hand me billions of dollars. No one is going to provide these things for me but myself. I've been making a conscious effort lately to really up my game as far as my financial planning goes. I am by NO MEANS an expert and it's been a lot of trial and error along the way to find what works for me (I've talked about this before). But I think I've finally found a plan that works for me and I figured I would share it in case it helps anyone else.

First off, I am obsessed with It's a financial website geared towards helping women be more financially savvy, but I think it is a great resource for anyone. I have an account set up there which links all my bank accounts and credit cards and gives me a nice (and pretty!) overview of my finances. It has made it ridiculously easy to keep an eye on where my money is going.

There are lots of other sites out there like this one - is another popular one. I used to use Mint, but, simply put, I didn't like it. Use what works for you, be it another website, an app on your phone, a spreadsheet, or crayons and scrap paper. Whatever! As long as it keeps you organized and accountable you're golden.

The best tip I have for budgeting your money is one I got from LearnVest. They recommend the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of your take home pay should go to necessities - rent, utilities, transportation, food. 20% goes to debt repayment and savings/retirement. 30% is leftover for your lifestyle - eating out, shopping, etc. It make it really easy to see where you're spending too much or too little and adjust accordingly. For instance, it turned out I wasn't spending 50% of my pay on necessities, so I was able to bump up my savings and lifestyle sections.

The 50/20/30 rule is so much easier than tracking every cent that goes in or out of your wallet. It allows you to focus your spending and saving without having to be a stickler. And if you're already using a money management website or system it should be really easy for you to see where your money is going.

The next financial challenge I plan on tacking is investing. I'm not kidding when I say I want a plushy life, so anything I can do to up my net worth is something I want to look into. Investing is something I know NOTHING about so this should be an interesting adventure. I'm thinking about starting to set aside some money purely to invest and seeing how it goes.

Any of you financial experts? Have any tips on investing or budgeting? I want to hear them! No, seriously, tell me because I wasn't kidding when I said I am obsessed with money.

Which now that I think about it is super weird since I hate math. Huh.

*This post is in no way affiliated with LearnVest. I'm just seriously obsessed. So dorky.

photos via and


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