Btchcoin’s Budgeting Survival Guide: Part One
When it comes to budgeting everybody has something to say. From outdated advice (a 20% down payment isn’t always the best option!) to unhelpful comments (“you know if you just cut out Starbucks you could pay off you student loans quicker!”) there’s a lot of junk advice out there.
That’s why we’ve created the Btchcoin Budgeting Survival Guide. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to debunk budgeting myths and provide actually helpful advice for people who are looking to manage their money and save for future goals. Most importantly, we want to empower women to make their money work for them!
We’ve broken this guide out into large, general sections so you can apply what’s applicable and file the rest away for future use. In Part 1, we discuss the different ways to structure your budget and some tips on how to maximize savings. In Part 2, we’ll review the Btchcoin Community’s tips and tricks to managing your budget.
Structuring Your Budget
While there is no right way to divvy up your money (that’s what the ‘personal’ in personal finance refers to) we want to show a few different ways you can organize your hard-earned cash.
The most commonly shared rule of thumb is the 50-30-20 rule. Basically, spend 50% of your post tax income on needs (housing, groceries, transportation), 30% on wants (getting your nails done, a house cleaning service, a subscription box for your fur baby because #whynot), and 20% on savings or paying off debt. For some, this simple way of dividing up money keeps their finances in order without much thought. Of course, if you have higher debt or live in a higher cost of living city, you may want to adjust these number.
Another way to approach budgeting is to maintain a savings rate and work backwards from there. For example, if you earn $45,000 post tax annually, your monthly income is $3750, and you want to maintain a 30% savings rate, you’ll have to save $1125 every month. You would then only budget with the leftovers — meaning $2625 would be spent on fixed living expenses and discretionary purchases. This method gives you more freedom as there are only two categories: savings and non-savings. However it may take some trial and error to ensure that you’re saving enough to meet your goals and not being sofrugal that your quality of life suffers.
The last method is for people who LOVE structure and thrive with detailed tracking. Zero-based budgeting (also called the envelope method) is centred around the idea that every dollar you earn is allocated to a category. At the beginning of the month, you would set your budget for each category — the more specific the better — like vacation savings, birthday gifts, ordering takeout, etc.
By accounting for every dollar you earn and spend, you’re forced to think about where your money is going, encouraging financial mindfulness, while giving yourself the freedom to build in fun purchases!
Arguably one of the most important sections of a budget is savings. Whether you’re saving for a down payment, a new car, a girl’s trip, or retirement, you need to factor in how much money you’ll need. It is recommended that after paying off high-interest debts — think car loans and credit cards — you have an emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. This should include fixed living expenses like rent and utilities, and a pared down version of lifestyle spending. The aim of an emergency fund is to get you through a rough patch without having to worry about money too.
Automating your savings is the easiest way to ensure you meet your financial goals. By setting up auto-transfers on payday, you don’t even see the money — which can be a major temptation. Another way to think of this is to pay yourself first.
So, you’ve got your E-Fund saved up in your savings account earning 0.01% interest a month and you’re wondering if there’s a better way to save? The answer is yes, and your solution is a High Interest Savings Account. With interest rates at historical lows, traditional savings accounts won’t be able to grow your savings or even protect the account from inflation.
As of right now, digital-only banks like EQ are offering 1.5%. A digital bank means they have no branches which means less overhead for them and better rates for you. Make sure to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best rate possible. You can easily find this on Rate Hub using their handy comparison tool.
Budgeting can help shift your mindset from “I don’t have enough money to do all things I want,” to contentment; “I have this amount of money to spend on things that bring value into my life.” While money can’t buy you happiness, it can certainly buy peace of mind and security — which is priceless!
We hope you’ve enjoyed the first half of Budgeting 101. To share your budgeting hacks, keep your eyes out for our Instagram story calling for submissions, and you could have yours featured in Part Two!