What It’s Really Like to Put 50 Percent of My Income Into Sub-Savings Accounts

I'm clever enough with math to understand that this means chopping off 50 percent of my income as soon as it hits my checking account and stuffing it somewhere else, but I hadn't quite realized what that would feel like in practice.

Adjusting My 2015 Budget To Accomodate Freelancer Estimated Taxes

Every month, I need to put 20 percent of my income towards taxes, 20 percent towards debt, and 10 percent towards savings.

Planning a 2015 Budget: Revised and Updated

When you ask Billfold readers to critique your budget, they critique your budget. With that in mind, here's a revised and updated 2015 budget, incorporating your suggestions.

First of May, First of May, Brand-New Budget Starts Today

So now that it’s the First of May and I can finally start putting my new savings plan into action (as a quick recap, I want to put 20 percent of every freelancer payment into a “taxes” saving account, 20 percent into a “debt” savings account, 10 percent into actual savings, and keep the other 50 percent for overhead and discretionary expenses), I’ve started to think about what that might mean in practical terms.

During one of my weekly Tumblr financial roundups, for example, I calculated how those percentages would have fallen out had I put this plan into action in March:

If I had done this for March’s “total money that hit my bank account,” which ended up being $5,539.41, it would have worked out to:

20% savings: $1,108

20% debt: $1,108

10% savings: $554

Left over: $2,770

As I wrote for The Billfold earlier, I have an approximate $1,500 overhead cost (rent, food, bills, etc.), so that would leave me with $1,270 in discretionary income. If I earn less money in any given month, I still have a lot of wiggle room in this budget.

I can already see a big honking problem with this plan, though, at least for May: I have a bunch of expenses coming up at the beginning of the month, and all my big freelancing checks don’t start coming until the middle and end of the month.

New York on $70 a Week

Think about the cost of living where you live. Think about what you actually need, financially, to live on. The bare minimum. Does it sound like $70 a week? Probably not. But I’ve done it three times—in New York City.

Planning a 2015 Budget

Have you figured out how much discretionary income you'll have every month in 2015? Is that something you consider when you plan your spending?

How Do You Know When to Stop Spending?

How do you know when to stop spending? What prevents you from buying everything you want as soon as you see it?

Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

As requested, here is an open thread in which you can share your 2015 budgets.

My Spreadsheet Summer

I’ve never really put myself on a budget before, which I find kind of shameful. Fed up with constantly being a couple hundred dollars behind on my Visa, I’ve decided to do something about it. I set up a spreadsheet, planning my budget over the next few months and will be obsessively tracking my progress. I’ve got a pretty simple set-up: one column for the date, one for the balance of each of my bank accounts, one for my Visa, and one for notes. It looks like this...