Friday, March 2, 2007

Your Money or Your Life - Steps 3, 4 & 5

Step 3 - Create a budget

Not really a problem. I've had one for ages, using one of Larry Burkett's simple yet elegant budget models. It may be interesting for you to see how things broke out for me.

less Tithe 10%
less Taxes 30%

Yields Net Spendable Income (NSI)

Investments & Savings - 31% of NSI
Housing - 28%
Food & Sundries - 10%
Child care & schooling - 9%
Medical/insurance - 6%
Auto - 5%
Entertainment - 3%
Clothing - 2%
Additional giving - 1%
Miscellaneous - 5%

Step 4 - Determine the level of time spent to cover each item, including your relative fulfullment

This was a harder one for me. Personal fulfillment for me centers on loving God, my family & my country, in that order. Although money helps a little, money for me has always primarily been connected to security. If/when I become a multi-millionaire, I will spend more, but still be frugal. I intend to give away more money rather than live it up, as giving excites me where things (as a general rule) do not. For me, then, I hope to give more in the future, and have started to prepare by giving above the tithe now.

Step 5 - Track monthly income, expenses & savings

Well, OK. I fell off the wagon here; I track my income & expenses on a daily basis in a certain sense, but I do not slice it out and create a mini-income statement every month. That said, this is a game-changing step if you are living above your means, as the net difference between your Income & Expenditures will become painfully obvious.

Strangely, steps 6 through 9 are blank in my Excel sheet, so I'm going to have to go track them down and complete them. Stay tuned!

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