Use a monthly budget calculator to stick to the 50-30-20 rule
As living costs keep going up, it makes sense to put a budget in place. One of the best ways to keep your finances in check is to follow the 50-30-20 rule.
Use this monthly budget calculator to see if you’re on target this month:
What is the 50-30-20 rule?
The 50-30-20 rule (also known as the 50-20-30 rule) is a simple way to think about your budget. The basic idea is to split your after-tax income into three buckets: needs, wants and savings. That means you spend 50% on things you need, 30% on things you want and tuck 20% away as savings.
These are your essential needs. People may disagree on essentials, but in general, these are the basic needs, such as:
- rent or mortgage payments
- groceries and other household shopping
- utilities, including electricity, water, gas, internet and phone
- financial costs like bank fees, loan repayments, insurance, council tax
- other miscellaneous costs like childcare, travel, vet bills and so on
These are the bare minimum costs you need to cover each month just to survive. Limiting this to just half your disposable income can be one of the biggest challenges if you’re on a tight budget.
This is the fun stuff that defines your lifestyle away from work. These are the things we like spending money on, but aren’t essential, such as:
- going out to a concert, the cinema or for drinks
- eating out at a restaurant or grabbing coffee
- having drinks at home, streaming a movie or gaming
- hobbies such as sports, classes or workshops
- shopping and splurges
This type of spending is often where it’s easiest to be flexible. But don’t forget that downtime is important too!
This is where you build financial security into your budget. Put aside money every month in your piggy bank for:
- retirement savings, whether that’s pension payments at work or your own investments
- savings for your next holiday or a big purchase
- emergency fund, to cover any unexpected costs that might crop up
Cutting down on your savings is an easy mistake to make when trying to stick to a budget. But your future self will thank you for being disciplined here.
You have a 50-30-20 budget. Now what?
Stick to it! That’s easy to say, of course. The tricky part is doing it.
One way to manage your monthly spending is to use a prepaid card. This lets you reserve a fixed amount of money for a specific purpose, like gaming, entertainment or shopping. When it runs out, you’ve hit your limit. But if you go under your budget one month, you’ll have more left on your prepaid card for the next month.
Another way to ensure sticking to your budget and/or savings goals is to set aside a certain amount on a prepaid credit card. That moves the money out of your day-to-day account, where it’s too tempting to spend, and keeps it available for you until you need to use it.
Top up your prepaid credit cards within seconds, using the payment method and currency of your choice. Always instantly delivered to your inbox.
A prepaid credit card is especially helpful in case you don’t have a regular credit card. You can’t overspend on a prepaid credit card. What’s more, most prepaid credit cards don’t require a credit check and you can use them to pay with thousands of online and offline vendors whenever you need to. Keep in mind that some prepaid credit cards have a validity period, which can vary from 6 months to over a year. Make sure to check the validity of your chosen prepaid card beforehand, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Last but not least, remember that a budget doesn’t mean missing out on fun. It just means knowing how much you have to spend.