Adviser Canna Campbell has worked out a financial formula to relieve your anxiety about money and help you cut out the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. Her strategy relies on figuring how much you need to spend to survive versus what you’d like to spend on things you want. And it leaves room left over for long range, big expenditure goals. Here’s how it works: Think of your paycheck as a 50/30/20 split.
The first 50 percent goes to your survival: rent or mortgage, food, utility bills and transportation. Keep this money is your everyday bank account that’s dedicated to all daily, weekly and monthly expenses. This bank account is where you put funds for lunch money, mobile phones and gym membership as well as your survival money.
Devote 30 percent of your paycheck to your “want” fund for things like clothing, restaurants or entertainment. This is discretionary spending, and here’s where you can be flexible. You can cut back on buying the latest shade of your favorite $50 nail polish, or you can splurge on the $500 tote you’ve been eyeing. Treat your sweetie to the hottest bistro in town or dine on spaghetti at home for a month or two.
Save the final 20 per cent of your salary. Move that money over to a bank account that’s separate from your everyday spending bank account. This second is a life account. Use it for all your quarterly, bi-annual and annual expenses. Hold your emergency money here also. You need a buffer for the unexpected expenses you’re bound to run into.
Canna recommends at least three bank accounts. The third is for financial goals such as saving for a deposit on your dream vacation or down payment on a house. “Once you have worked out how much needs to go into the other two accounts, what is left should go into this account,” she said.
‘Your goals should always be a slight stretch so that you push yourself. Go over and review your budget often. As needs change it should update.’
The financial advisor recommends using the 50/30/20 rule as a guide and working out the split that works best for you.
Stop living from paycheck to paycheck by using Canna’s simple strategy.
“If you are constantly spending all of your money before the next pay day, the answer is simple. You need to go on a financial diet, and at least temporarily cut down or remove excessive wants and spending habits,” she said. “The cash that is freed up from this should be put towards paying off debt and building up savings.”
The trick is to use only cash or a debit card.
“You can’t spend what you don’t have,” she said. “Check your account balance and transactions daily – even if it pains you. Then, keep reviewing your budget, work out what can be reduced or cut down, and create a regular savings plan that automatically direct debits some savings the moment your paycheck comes in.”