Living on a Budget (And The Budget Template I Use)

Life on a Budget

When I graduated from college, I remember feeling so clueless about money. I had no idea what a normal salary was (I mean, $1,000 sounded like a lot to me), I had no idea how much I could afford to pay in rent, and I felt like I was spending money left and right.

So one day on my lunch break, I called my dad, told him I was stressed out, and asked him to make me a budget. He called me back a few hours later with a general outline of how much I should spend on what. And it was amazing.

I actually still use the model he drew up for me that day. There have been a lot of changes to how much is allotted to each category, and I’ve even broken out a few categories more specifically. But overall, this is a great template for doing your own budget. I highly recommend it.

Total Monthly Income $2,000
Housing $600
Car $300
Groceries $200
Miscellaneous Spending $200
Savings Account $200
Student Loans $300
Charitable Donations $200

A few notes:

“Housing” includes rent and utilities.

“Car” includes daily upkeep (gas, oil changes, etc.) and insurance. I highly recommend paying your car insurance monthly instead of biannually. It makes it a lot easier to budget and plan for.

At the time, I took home about $2,000 a month, so a lot of numbers are calculated on that figure. (For example, housing should be aboutΒ 30% of your pay, and donations should be about 10%.)

Overall, this is designed to be pretty flexible. You’ll quickly see where you spend less or more than the budget allows, and I’ve reworked my categoriesΒ every time I’ve moved or changed jobs (read: many times) to account for different expenses.

Huge shoutout to my dad for being my unofficial financial advisor. Thanks, Padre!

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