Personal Budget Guidelines

In this post, I would like to present personal budget guidelines, and hopefully, point out some potential holes or problems in your budget.  The goal here is of course, to help you find ways to increase your disposable income, or the amount of money left over after all bills are paid.  After reviewing this post, I hope to ignite some ideas in your mind about ways to cut expenses, and the things that are really eating holes in your budget.  The following chart is a mixture of what other personal budget experts think, and my personal opinion of how to allocate your money:

Percentage of Income

Expense Description

10% God / Church
25% Housing
10% Utilities
18% Transportation
10% Food
2% Clothing / Attire
5% Misc. (eg Phone, Internet)
5% Medical Expenses
5% Other Debt
6% Savings
4% Entertainment

In the above table, I have listed the expenses in order of importance (to me, anyway).  There are a couple of key things I want you to notice in reference to the above table:

  • Taking God Out of the Equation
    The absolute worst budget mistake you can make.  Without God and his blessings on your life, you are doomed.  Do not cut your budget here! 
  • Housing
    This is where many people make a huge mistake.  Many lenders will allow you to borrow up to 50% of your monthly income towards a house.  This is ludicrous!  Buy something within your means, or wait, and offer on several different houses at a discounted price to fit into your budget.  See more on “The One Key to Real Estate Investing”.
  • Transportation
    Most people will not be able to fit into the 18% allocation for transportation, because they have a car payment that is 10-20% of their monthly income already.  By the time you add the cost of gasoline and general maintenance, you are well above the 18% mark.  More details on “Should I Buy a New Car or a Used Car?”.
  • Miscellaneous
    Cable TV, Long Distance Service, House Alarm System Service, Incredibly High-Speed Internet Service, etc. are budget killers.  Stick to the basics in every service, and do without as many of them as possible!
  • Food and Entertainment
    Do you need fillet mignon, caviar and two nights and the Weston 2-3 times a month?  Do you have to have name brand cereal, Netflix, and StarBucks?  Count up the cost of these and you will be shocked.  Stay with off brands in the grocery store, and limit or cut back the high dollar, high frequency entertainment, I guarantee it will come back to haunt you.  On a personal note, buying movies at Walmart in the $5.50 bin is a much better bargain than paying $3.99 at the rental store for only 5 nights of viewing.

I think you will find it remarkable how implementing just one or more of these personal budget guidelines and suggestions can make a difference in your family budget.  The main thing is to group and count the cost of all the various expenses in your budget, and start trimming the fat.  I track all expenses in my budget (except for entertainment) to make sure I do not overextend myself.  If you are wondering why I do not track my entertainment expenses, it is because I hate wasting money, thus I have no budget for entertainment.  This forces me to think twice about any entertainment expense, because I know it will put me over my total personal budget!  Try this out and let me know if it helps you; you may comment at the bottom of this page with your results.

13 thoughts on “Personal Budget Guidelines

  1. Pingback: personal-budget » Blog Archive » Personal Finance: Money 101 - Making a Budget

  2. Pingback: Budget Tips and Ideas

  3. I am interested in your first comment about paying 10% of your income to God. I personally did this 30 years ago. I was at the end of my rope for at least 10 years. I religiously did this for a year at least. I prayed, read the Bible, changed my bad habits and I felt like Job. God ignored me. The only thing that kept me going was my daughter who needed me. If my prayers were answered, you tell me how. I did not see any blessings. Just a draining of my checking account. I am a good person in my opinion, live by the golden rule. I was shunned by the Mormon church (they heard through the grapevine I was not living the life I should!!) I developed tics which I still have today. My saviour was Prozac when they developed it in the 1980’s. I had one life long personal friend (alumni from AA) tell me, I was not praying the right way. How do you tell someone who is desperate and in despair they are not praying the right way! I thought God heard all prayers. After 30 years, yes, I am cynical. I grew up with a Christian foundation. Catholic schools. I do believe in God and I do believe in miracles.. Maybe my Dad inadvertently set me up. He showed distain to me because he made me feel I was weak as an adult if I ever needed help in any way. Consequently, I learned to shun help. I want to stand strong and keep faith but I am going through a very difficult time now, and, again, I am asking for God’s blessing.. I felt He ignored me in the past and I am hesitant to tithe again. If you respond, please do so in a loving manner, as I have felt critized my entire life.


  4. Pat:

    Paying tithes is simply a work. It is a commandment of God, however God is more interested in a man’s spiritual state. Ultimately, God loves you and has provided a way of salvation for you, and anyone else that accepts it. He sent his only begotten son to bleed and die on an old cruel cross so that your sin and mine would be forgiven. He has done the “work” that it takes to be saved, all you need to do is accept his gift.

    So my question to you is this: Are you truly saved? Have you come to a point in your life where you recognized that you were a sinner, and unworthy of God? Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means you, me, and everyone else in this world.

    And there is a punishment for sin – death. Eternal death to be exact, an eternal punishment to burn forever. Revelation 20:14 says “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

    But God provided a way through his son Jesus. John 3:16 accurately describes it: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You see, Jesus paid the price that God required for sin, so that you and I wouldn’t have to.

    So if you haven’t ever come to that place where you knew you were a sinner, and that only God could save you through Jesus Christ, I encourage you to do so. A simple prayer telling God you know you are a sinner, you know the punishment for sin, and asking him to forgive your sin, accepting what he did for you on the cross as the only way to heaven, and asking him to save you is what it takes. Only after salvation does anything about tithing or living the Christian life or going to Church matter. So I ask again, are you truly saved? If you aren’t, I encourage you to do so now. I did the same thing when I was 10 years old, and its the best thing that has ever happened to me.

    I leave you with Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Trust Christ as your saviour, and watch him change you from the inside out to be the man you should be. But don’t be fooled, the Christian life is not easy, but he promises he will never leave you nor forsake you. If I can help you any further, please let me know.

  5. The purpose of tithing is to receive monetary benefits. The point of the Cross is that we are sinners that rebelled against God and he has made a way for our sins to be taken away and we are given Christ’s perfect life. God doesn’t owe us money or blessings simply because we give a portion of our income. Every one of the 12 disciples except for John were martyred and killed for their faith. Why should we expect anything different? The point of Christianity is that you get to know God even though life is hard. God Bless Philippians 3:7-14

  6. Hi pat and all, i must say i’m always very troubled when i see discussions on money and God in the same sentence. The only thing Jesus asked of us is to love and help others, not to finance organized religions created by men. I could respect a budget allocation for charity but certainly not for church. There are many souls in this world without food and shelter and these are the ones God asks us to help, not your priest, preacher or however you give your money to that tell you it’s God’s way! Stop trying to buy your way into paradise and actually make a difference by following in Jesus’ footsteps. And Pat, if you are the one in need, then please by all mean use that money for you and do not EVER let anyone make you feel bad about it.

  7. Dear Jeffry, Pat and any other desiring readers.

    I am a full-time pastor. So many people miss the mark on tithing and God as a whole.Jeffry seems to have the most realistic viewpoint of God. There are many angles to tithing. The very first is that God requires you to give as an act of obedience. Do you really trust Him? That is the question He wants to know. In Malachi 3:10 God asks that you test Him and see if He will pour out a blessing that you cannot even contain. So yes, God does bless those that tithe. In Acts 5:1-11 you see Ananias and Sapphira are giving to God probably above the tithe. However, they lie about the selling price of the land. God proceeds to cease life in both of them because they were dishonest about their incoming monies from the sale of their land.
    For Simon and Pat, Jesus mentions when asked about the tax to Caesar, He replies, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” You can find this verse in Matthew 22:15-21. With respect to all readers this is to inform and not to make anyone think they are being judged. I benefit no one in writing this post unless it benefits God and the reader. So in a nutshell, God wants you to love Him, Obey Him and trust Him. If you are doing all these things at the same time while completely following the guidelines of living a biblical christian life, God will bless you in all areas of your life. Hope this helps you all.

    • Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…

      Thank you Pastor Michael. It’s always encouraging to hear someone else that sees the same meaning in the scripture as I do.

  8. This is an interesting discussion you fellas have going on in here. Mind if i join? Thanks. (:
    There is no need to get upset! Calm down. All of you!
    Everyone is allowed to have their own religious freedom. There is no need to freak out and try and force your beliefs on others. It’s annoying, like you (directed towards Jeffrey) So let it be! (Written by the Beetles) (:

    • I am not forcing my beliefs on anyone, you have the freedom to read and accept this post and comments, or ignore them. The most important is whether you have accepted Christ, or not. So, where will you spend eternity?

  9. That’s a load of crap. You really are annoying, trying to force your beliefs on people. Don’t lie Jeffrey, God frowns upon that. In fact, I have Christ in my life and will spend eternity with him. HA!

    • Asking a question isn’t forcing anything. And I don’t appreciate being called a liar. Christ commanded that we preach the gospel to every creature, that means we are commanded to get involved in people’s lives, e.g. telling them about Christ and asking them if they want to accept him. If you are a believer in Christ, then this command applies to you, as well as me. But, I wonder if we believe in the same Christ…

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