All of these words constantly ran through my mind when I first tried to get my finances in order and implement a budget. I had so many failed attempts because, for one, I was making my budgets super unrealistic and, two, I cringed at just the thought of having to even be on a budget. I just didn't get why I needed one. So quite naturally, I was unable to make it a consistent habit.
Fast forward a few years later, I started to grasp the concept of a budget much better. I'd attribute that to mindset shifts as well. I realized that a budget was simply just a spending plan and that I didn't have to strip all of the things I loved and enjoyed doing in order to be successful with budgeting.
You can still live your best life while on a budget.
I didn't have to give up brunch with my girls or have to compromise my style. Once I implemented budgeting into my life, I was actually able to do MORE of the things that I enjoyed simply because I was much more responsible with my coins and knew where everything was going. I also cut out things from my life/expenses that did not serve me any longer and that I didn't value.
That's why I can appreciate the 50/30/20 rule when it comes to budgeting. It's simple, realistic, and doesn't deprive you of those things that you love while taking care of business. Let me break it down for you.
The 50/30/20 rule is simply this:
- 50% of your income goes to your needs
- 30% of your income goes to your wants
- 20% of your income goes to your savings and other goals
See, simple right?
Here's how you set a solid foundation and get started with implementing this rule into your lifestyle.
Analyze spending habits
First, it's imperative that you analyze your spending habits prior to establishing this budgeting rule.
Most people spend more money than they think they are actually spending. Additionally, they don't really know where their money is going. You need to analyze your spending habits in order to get down to the nitty gritty. Taking time to really dig into your accounts will help you when deciding where you want to allocate your coins with the 50/30/20 rule. It's super hard to get your financial life in order if you don't know where your money is going.
Make sure you are taking a close look into the discretionary spending that you are doing. These expenses are those that vary from month to month, to include:
- Eating Out
- Going Out/Entertainment
Ask yourself, "Am I doing the most with my spending, or nah?" Keep it 100!
Determine your actual needs (50%) vs. your wants (30%)
Additionally, many people have trouble sticking to a budget because they find it hard to determine the difference between true needs and wants.
Needs are items that you must have for basic survival/daily living. For example, food, housing, clothing, transportation, insurance, etc are all needs.
Wants are items you desire, but can live without. For example, travel, entertainment, hobbies, eating out, memberships, etc are all wants.
To determine if an item is a need or a want, picture yourself living without it. What consequences would occur if you didn't have that item in your life? Would those consequences have a significant impact or would you just miss the item? Being honest about the difference between a need and a want is a critical step towards smart budgeting.
Using the rule of 50% towards needs and 30% towards wants, actually allocate your income accordingly.
Identify savings and other financial goals (20%)
Once you've gotten clarity on where you're spending your money and identified your needs and wants, you then need to figure out what you want to accomplish with the remaining 20% of your income.
Here's a few questions to get you going:
- How much do you want to contribute to retirement?
- How much do you want to contribute to your emergency fund?
- Do you have any debts you want to pay off? How much extra do you want to contribute to reach those goals?
- Do you have any other investment goals? How much do you want to invest?
This is the roadmap for the 50/30/20 rule. Here's a quick example:
MONTHLY TAKE HOME PAY: $3,200
Eating Out $150
Apple Music $10
Emergency Fund $90
Debt Payoff $400
The most important step comes with the implementation and execution.
Once you determine how much and where, it's time to actually put it to use and see how it works for you. The fact that it's easy to use and to get started with regardless of your income is an advantage of using this method. Additionally, you'll be able to shape bomb money management habits without having to do too much while simultaneously saving for your future. I also love how it's super flexible and you can adjust everything to fit your lifestyle and income increases over time.
One con of this method is that it may not be realistic for those whose expenses are over 50% of their income. If that's the case, you can determine if there's anything you can cut out or bring in additional cash if needed.
This framework should allow you to get a better grasp on your money management and grow your savings in the process. Just like with everything else, you have to find what works best for you and stick with it in order to see results.
Do you subscribe to the 50/30/20 rule when you budget? What are some of your tips for effective budgeting?
- 8 Things You're Definitely Spending WAY Too Money On Every Month - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 7 Smart Spending Tips That Will Help You Save This Summer - xoNecole: Lifestyle, Culture, Love, & Wellness ›
- Why I Hate the 50/20/30 Budget | Club Thrifty ›
- Is the 50/20/30 Rule the Best Way to Budget Your Money? ›
- What is the 50/20/30 budget rule? | Investopedia ›
- The Ultimate Guide to the 50/30/20 Budget (Updated 2018) - Chime ... ›
- Budgeting your money using the "50/20/30" rule ›
- 10 Good Financial Rules of Thumb ›
- Free Budget Calculator - NerdWallet ›
- The 50/20/30 Rule for Minimalist Budgeting | MintLife Blog ›
- New To Budgeting? Why You Should Try The 50-20-30 Rule ›
- The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule—How It Works ›
Kristin Sutton (aka the Money Therapist) is a personal finance and lifestyle blogger/coach over at DebtFreeBlackGirl.com that empowers young women to take control of their finances by changing the way they think about money. As a licensed therapist, her daily mission is to uncover and eliminate the mental roadblocks that hinder people from living the life of their dreams. You can find her on all things social: @DebtFreeBlkGrl
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports