Setting down a budget is the first step to getting a Preparedness Plan in place.
In theory budgeting is pretty simple: just don’t spend money you don’t have. Easy enough to say. But what exactly does a good budget look like?
There are some good guidelines to setting a family budget. The simplest is the 50-20-30 rule. With this system, 50% of your income goes to fixed expenses like rent, utilities and insurance. 20% goes towards your financial goals: short-term savings, paying off debt, retirement. And 30% goes towards discretionary spending–food, clothing, entertainment. Food is included in this category because it is not a set amount. With careful management, you
can keep the costs of food, clothing and entertainment modest and manageable.
Poverty is not the problem
Here in the US, poverty is not really a problem. Oh, yes, there are pockets of true poverty in our country. But real poverty–the kind that leads to starvation and profound deprivation–is not nearly as widespread as some would believe.
Most of us probably have enough to get by. And when we run into difficulties, there are lots of safety nets in place to help us. Government assistance programs, food pantries and charitable organizations are all at the ready to help those in financial straits.
Affluenza IS a problem
The real problem is affluenza. Affluenza symptoms include compulsive shopping, high debt, overwork, inability to delay gratification, a sense of entitlement, obsession with externals and “having it all,” wastefulness, and stress. The problem is not a lack of money. The problem is an unhealthy concern with money.
That’s why I want to emphasize abundance. We have been given so much–a free and prosperous nation, families and
friends, knowledge, and so much more. If we focus on that abundance instead of our wants, we’ll find living within a budge is not onerous or restrictive but liberating.
As you set your budget, consider where your priorities are. Ask yourself if your spending priorities reflect your values. The key is to master money. Make it a useful tool and not something that controls or sets the pace for your life. When you master money, you will find it easier to achieve your preparedness goals. That’s because your budget and your goals arise from a sense of gratitude and abundance, not lack or need.
So let’s get started
Decide how you are going to prioritize and budget your money. When you have a clear idea of your financial plan, decide how much of your money can go towards implementing your Provident Living plans. You might want to practice some frugal tips to reduce your food, clothing and other discretionary costs. Or you can use a portion of the 20% that goes towards your financial goals. The key is to make planning for emergencies a regular part of your family budget, not an afterthought.
You may find some of the apps on this page helpful.
Be sure to share your successes and frugal tips with the PHC Discussion Group on Facebook.