Managing our Money: The Bucket List

budget

By Stuart Miles, published on 20 August 2011
Stock Photo – image ID: 10053900

I’ve heard lots of free-lancer’s like me discuss how difficult it can be to manage your money when you don’t have a steady paycheck. I mentioned our bucket list here. I also wrote an article about how I manage my money here.

During the 40 Day Prosperity Plan, we started paying more attention to the way we manage our money. Since we get paid by multiple employers (clients) each month, it’s never at the same time each month, and it’s never the same amount each month. It’s harder to make a budget or keep up with a system. But, we’ve learned that if we don’t manage our money, it manages us. We’ve come up with what we call our Bucket List. We have different ‘buckets’ for our money.

Our first bucket is our tithing. Ten percent comes off the top of any income and goes into our tithing bucket. As soon as possible we ask where we have been spiritually fed and that’s where our tithing check goes. We try to keep the tithing bucket empty. However, we are also learning to follow our guidance better about where that check goes, so when we don’t know, it doesn’t go. It sits there until we get a clear signal as to where it should go. We take tithing serious because that’s God’s money, not ours. We want the money to go where God wants the money to go, so we listen carefully.

After God gets His money, we pay ourselves. We keep 10% for play. This is for going out to eat, going to the movies, vacations, traveling, buying things we want, etc. We can spend it any way we want to spend it. Fun is important to us and so we make sure we have plenty. This is what life is really about and we have decided not to put it off for something called retirement when we may be too old to enjoy it. We don’t want to put it off until everything else is taken care of either. We truly believe that the joy is in the journey and sometimes joy requires money!

We put another 10% in our goals bucket. This is for our bigger goals which include building an opportunity fund, personal trainers, buying an RV, big trips, etc. We visit our goals regularly and decide which are more important than others.

One of our biggest goals is to become debt free, so until we get to that point, we are putting 20% of all money coming in into our debt bucket. We use this money to pay credit cards and other loans. Once we are debt free, then we will split this 20% into education and investing buckets. Education is extremely important to us. It is something we want to work on all our lives. Investing will give us more financial freedom which is also important to us.

Our last bucket is our expenses bucket. Fifty percent of all money coming in goes into our expenses bucket. This money is used for utilities, car payments, rent and/or mortgage, groceries, gasoline, business expenses, living expenses, clothing, business trips, taxes, etc.

This system takes a great deal of our time, so I am building a tool to help automate a lot of the calculating and record keeping. I used an Excel sheet for a while, but even that takes a lot of work. I will keep you posted on our bucket list tool because I have a feeling it might help some of you too.

What we manage and pay attention to grows. We want our wealth to grow. When we pay attention to our finances, we attract more prosperity to us.

Shreem,

cindyandlizabethsig

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