Simplicity, to me, comes from a mindset. What works for you? What makes you think less? When it comes to budgeting for my monthly spending and saving, one all-purpose account just doesn’t cut it. There’s just too much going on! To avoid headaches and potential overdraft fees, I’ve simplified my budgeting into a three account system: spending, saving and bills.
1. Spending Account: This is what I consider to be my allowance out of every paycheck. Even though I include necessities such as gas and groceries part of my allowance, it helps me understand what is realistic to spend on food and fuel during one pay period. Plus, it keeps my second checking account strictly for bill payments and rent checks.
2. Bills Account: If you have regularly scheduled bills like I do, set up an additional checking account just for those. This helps consolidate the “must pay” items, rather than putting those necessary funds at risk in your spending account for everyday purchases and shopping trips. Some accounts offer Online Bill Pay which is just another way to maintain those mandatory expenses.
3. Savings Account: The golden rule is to have at least three months worth of living expenses set aside in case of job loss or decreased income. The funds beyond the three-month safety net are exclusively for those future investments or unexpected costs, and should be considered “off limits.”
Every pay day, I split my hard-earned money evenly between the three accounts, because I’ve learned that’s what works for me. But I know as long as I stick to a plan, I won’t spend money that was intended for something more important. Give the three account system a try. You’ll find that there’s simplicity in numbers.