The Easiest Way to Budget Without a Spreadsheet

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I am willing to bet that a large percentage of people today are too lazy to budget. If you’re one of those people don’t worry, there’s good news here.

All you need for this is a piece of paper, a pen, common sense, and knowledge of how much you make and spend. Not too bad so far, right?

Budgeting Principle #1 – Budget your income by percentages, not specific amounts

To begin, no matter how much you make, you NEED to make three payments as soon as you get your paycheck. Each of these three payments are 10%. Here’s how it works.

1st Payment – 10% to God. Give your first fruits to the Lord! This is your giving payment to your local church. If you don’t believe in God (read this book: The Reason for God), but find a place to give. That could be a charity, nonprofit, or wherever you desire. Just make sure you give. It does something special to you and someone else. (By the way, be sure to keep track of your giving and get receipts from the places you give to so that when tax time rolls around you can deduct your giving.)

2nd Payment – 10% to yourself. You need to start paying yourself. This might sound silly but it’ll change your life. This means take that 10% and shove it into a savings account where you don’t touch it unless the roof is caving in! But really, don’t touch it… This might require you to open up a savings account with your bank which is incredibly easy to do. Fear not.

3rd Payment – 10% to investment. If you don’t have any money invested, you need to start ASAP. The only way you’re going to build real substantial wealth over time is if your money is working for you, making you more money.  (If you have no clue on how to do this, please check out my last 3 posts on investing:
Intro to Investing: The Basics
Intro to Investing: How I Got Started & My 5 Point Philosophy
Intro to Investing: Set Your Goals, Develop Your Strategy)

Ok, good. Now that those first three payments are out-of-the-way, we’re on to the next step.

Budgeting Principle #2 – Live on less than 70% of your income

This is where your paper and pen come in handy. You’ll need to first start by figuring out how much you make per month on average. If you don’t make the same amount every month, play it conservative and go on the low-end with the worst case scenario. I am going to just use $1,000 as an example to make it easy.

Start like this:
Total Monthly Income – $1,000 (100%)
10% God – $100
10% Me – $100
10% Investment – $100
New Total Monthly Income – $700 (70%)
Expense 1 –
Expense 2 –
Expense 3 –
Expense 4 –
Expense 5 –
After subtracting your first three 10% payments and getting your new net income, write down all of your expenses as illustrated above.

Now, bust out your calculator! You want to subtract all of your expenses from your new net income.

New Total Monthly Income – $700
 – Total Expenses – $???
Surplus or Shortage

So now it’s very simple. You are left with two outcomes. Either 1) you have some money left over, or 2) you don’t have enough money.

In dealing with #1, I would highly recommend NOT SPENDING your surplus on random stuff because you can. I would recommend paying off any debt first. If you have no debt, either invest it, putting it to work or save for the future!

Now, if you’re dealing with #2, you’ll need to find ways to bring down your monthly expenses OR increase your monthly income. It might hurt at first, but in the long run you’ll thank yourself. Remember this though: never take away from the first three payments. Trust me. Follow the 10% rule and you will do well.

Budget Principle #3 – Stick to it

I hope you can realize that budgeting is not so difficult or taxing after all. In fact, it can be fun when you use percentages as you’ll find that you can budget for just about anything!

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I hope you found this short post useful!

Cheers & God Bless

Matt
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links of the products that I recommend, which means if you purchase products through the link, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the blog and the time and effort put into it. Thank you for the support!!

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12 comments

    1. Thanks for commenting! I am honored! I’m glad I can help in some way. I also have another, more specific post on budgeting with a template attached if you’re interested. It’s the “what budget breed are you?” post! God bless!

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  1. Matt, I enjoyed this simple explanation. I’m curious your thoughts on that 1st 10% payment. I do not tithe; I have prayed about it often and do not feel called to give in that way at this time. What bible verses give you the conviction to do so?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for commenting! I believing giving is an essential function for the local church and church as a whole. Not only will your giving be going towards the mission you believe in(spreading the gospel) but it is also a form of worship and thankfulness to God. It does not have to be 10% to start(which comes from malachi 3:10 and other OT references), although that is a good goal. Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I think the Bible strongly teaches and advocates for giving in general let alone financially. But financial givingis a great act of faith and a way to honor and surrender to God, accepting He is in control. Tithing is a good easy principled structure to live by and is a certain a good giving goal. However it is not a sin or wrong to just give 5% or 3%. As long as you’re giving with the right heart. hope that answers your question a little bit. Sorry for the long response!

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      1. Thank you and anytime! I agree, WP is a great open and honest environment. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am honored and I really enjoy the discussion! The Lord’s blessings to as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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