It hasn't always been like this, but how we handle money is one of the strongest parts of our marriage.
So I want to open the book and tell you how we do it. Let me say two things quick. One, I'm not going to share specific #s: I'm a youth director and Kasey is a server, so just know we make huuuuuuuuge amounts of money. And two, this budget came from months of making stuff up as we went along. It fits the way we get paid, and it fits the life we want to live. Yours are different. At best, this budget sparks a few good ideas for your own.
"We receive all possessions as a gift from God to be stewarded simply, generously, and enjoyably."
This is the sentence that anchors our finances.
If we disagree about how to use our money, we run back to this. We're not doing money right if we miss any of those three. We try not to think too hard about it (simply), to give away what we received as a gift (generously), and do cool things (enjoyably).
That said, here's where our money goes:
1) We set aside 10% to waste on people.
This is the first move we make. Some of it goes to impressive places, and some of it buys coffee for friends we love. I'm not going to shove this on you, but all I can say is that there is something that we get back when we give away, that in a very real way giving 10% of our income away is the most selfish part of our finances. It grows more good inside of us than outside of it.
2) We slot in our monthly expenses.
Here are all our categories of monthly expenses:
- Natural gas
- Auto insurance
- Student loan
- Marriage building
- Miscellaneous (think deodorant, dish soap, Brita filters, thrifting stuff)
Three things here:
1) We use December's income to pay for January, and so on.
2) We've recently cut from our restaurant & clothing budget and stuck it in marriage building, which is basically our 'do cool things' budget. How you spend your money tells me what you care about, and that goes further than giving.
3) This category is like a bucket to be filled. Once we reach what we need,
3) We save the rest.
Let me be nerdy for a second.
We have four places where we put away money:
[Car]: 20% of our savings go here. If we make our target income, this pays for oil changes, tires, trips to visit Kasey's family, and leaves a bit to make a down payment on a car years from now.
[Home]: 30% of our savings go here. If we make our target income, this puts us in range for a small down payment on home this summer. It also pays for new kitchen glasses, which we seem to break every 3 months. ;)
[Vacation]: 45% of our savings go here. If we make our target income, this puts us in range for a little trip to Colorado for our 2-year and a big trip to Alaska for our 3-year anniversary.
[Emergency/retirement]: 5% of our savings go here. Smart people say we should have 3-6 months of income saved up for emergencies. They also say we should be saving for retirement in our 20s. For better or worse, we're doing both in one investment account.
These might change in a month. We might decide being in a home this summer is more important than going to Colorado/Alaska. My little '97 Civic-- 201k miles strong-- might quit on me. The point is to figure out what really matters-- which might take a little reflection-- so your money can serve it.
p/c: Raygen Brown