Why think about my spending percentages?

“The percentages and guidelines are like budgeting 2.0. They go beyond just not spending more than you make. They give me something to shoot for. And they’re helping me think about how I should be spending and saving.”
Michael, Boise

The key point in bringing up the guidelines is for you to be aware of your money balance. Remember the big goal is to achieve money balance, where you are covering your needs, allowing yourself to spend some money on wants, and saving for the future. The helpful thing about the spending percentages is they shed light on what may be preventing you from money balance. For example, if you are not saving any money and/or don’t have any money for wants, you may be spending too much money on housing or transportation. Examine those percentages. Or, if your Other spending percentage is too high, you may be spending too much money on wants and not saving enough. The spending percentages will help you realize that when you spend money in one particular area, it’s not coming out of thin air, it’s being taken from one of the other categories. So for you to achieve money balance, you now know what categories you need to reduce your spending in. The guidelines provide us a different lens to look at how we are spending our money. That is the main reason the spending percentage guidelines are introduced here.

Do not become disheartened if you do not meet the guidelines. Use them as motivation and see if you can make changes in your spending. Even if you meet the guidelines, you may need to evaluate your spending in the context of your financial goals.

On to the next section!