Do you ever wonder how much of your income should be going to this and how much should be going to that?
I know that you are aware that the general rule for your monthly mortgage payment should be 28% or less of your gross income. The mortgage payment plus your monthly debts (credit cards minimum payments, auto payment, student loan payment, etc.) should be less than 36% of your gross income.
These are the guidelines that help us to determine where your finances stand at any point in time. You may be higher or lower, but your know how you stand against the suggested ratios.
Here are some other suggestions:
Emergency Funds – 3 to 12 months of income. You need to have money aside for yourself when emergencies occur. There are several thoughts here for amounts – I believe that homeowners should be more towards the 12 month or more range, as you never know when you might need to make an emergency repair right now. Also, if you become unemployed, it seems that the older we get the more time there is in between jobs. This plus many more scenarios could make you rely on this emergency fund. Start or increase yours today.
Savings – the more the better! You can never have too much savings. Automate your savings and pay yourself first. Have your savings deducted from your paycheck each and every paycheck – that’s the pay yourself first part. You need to do this, as there is never money left over to save. Living off what’s left is the way to go. Remember to increase this amount often (at least every time your get a raise). If you haven’t do this start small – maybe $20 / paycheck and keep increasing this. I would love for you to aim for a minimum of 10% of your income.
Food – this one is a hard one. I know that we spend a lot on our food budget. Maybe you think this way too. I personally have tried different ways to keep this under control – from vegetable gardening, to only buying with cash, to sticking to lists (meal planners and grocery lists), but it’s tempting to spend more – that are so many items (not on my list) that we seem to want.
For a general guideline of what percentage of your check should be, check out this article from Every Dollar. Remember that these are suggestions and you can tweak them to fit your lifestyle.
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