Creating a financial budget that puts you first is essential for women who faced with the decision to help themselves or others would opt for the latter. Guilty.
Most of my life I’ve been told that a person’s budget is a reflection of their beliefs and morals and because of that I’ve struggled to put myself first. I’d be lying if I said I’ve figured out the perfect budget because there isn’t a one size fits all. What I’ve come up with is a budget that takes care of me first and also supports my beliefs. Here’s how I’ve allocated my money.
1. Pay yourself first. How many times have you heard that one before? And how many times have you done the exact opposite? When money comes in, take a percentage and deposit it into your retirement account, savings, and emergency fund. During this hard economic time, it’s wise to have six months or more worth of income in your savings. I’m doing it at a snail’s pace, but I’m getting there. I save 30% of my income and divide it among my savings accounts.
2. Pay off unavoidable bills. It’s funny how I’ve always managed to pay these bills even when I’ve been strapped for cash because I know there are immediate consequences. I used to short change myself by using money from my savings account. Now I make sure to reduce costs where ever possible to use only 30% of what’s left after I save money.
3. Be good to yourself. A few years ago, this category was nonexistent. This includes money for the extras like entertainment, eating out and shopping. I also use this money for health expenses. Although I allot 25% of my income to this category, sometimes it goes unused as these expenses are not reoccurring and I save it for later use. This was another step to taking better care of myself.
4. Be good to others. The remaining money is used to contribute to causes I believe in, helping others and tithing. I didn’t have this category included in my budget before. If friends or family had an emergency, out of my savings account it came out. Big mistake. I’ve come to understand that helping others is just as important as caring for myself. If needed, I allow myself to reduce this category to meet other necessary needs first.
To build a budget that reflects your beliefs without putting yourself last, take mine and alter it to fit your needs.
This post is a part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about budgeting, see womensmoneyweek.com.