Money is a tool. A tool that is used to help you, your family, and ultimately communities. Talking about money can sometimes be very difficult because many of us want more of it, yet do not have habits established to be good stewards of the money that we do have. We think that getting more money – will get rid of our debt, increase our savings, and/or enable us to be out here LIVIN LIT LIVES!
Sure (with a shoulder shrug) – that is possible – but more money does not make that happen.
It is a personal choice – what are you going to do with your hard earned money? How are you going to spend it?
Will we throw money towards debt? Will we save and invest our money? Will we take a combo save & debt repayment approach? Will we give our money? Will we spend money that we do not have and keep a credit card balance?
I am not going to tell you the right choice for your current season – I don’t know your life.
However, I am going to share with you how I have been living off an LFS.
In our house this acronym equates to “Left For Spend”. It is basically the adulting allowance that one has in a given month – after all the required adult responsibilities have been paid.
So here is how to calculate the monthly Left For Spend – Adulting Allowance :
Monthly Income – Bills – Savings – Giving = LFS
In my household – we have all of our recurring bills, monthly saving, and monthly giving amount, plus our LFS in our budget sheet. As a family we have decided that we are going to save, give, and play with a certain percentage of our income. The amount allocated to saving and giving – does not get reduced if I overspend that month. In doing this we are ensuring that we do not financially short change our future and community giving.
After applying the formula – I am left with an LFS Adulting Allowance of $600.
Any spending that is not a required bill, savings payment, and giving payment- is taken out of this $600 LFS sum.
My allowance spending falls into categories such as:
- Pampering (Hair & Nails)
- Clothing (My boys and I)
- Random household spoiling
- Gas (because this amount fluctuates – it comes from here)
- Eating Out
- Bday gifts to others
- Gifts to myself 🙂
At the start of every month there are two things that I do to set myself up for success:
1. I write out how much I think will be spent in each Miscellaneous Category depending on what is coming up and any known needs
- Doing this helps me to realize there are boundaries on my spending and that in fact – the majority of it is already “spent” before the month even starts – because I want to get my nails done, eat out once or twice, grab my husbands bday gift, and get my boys a few things.
2. I key into my phone app my $600 Adulting Allowance Amount – then once I spend money – I just add the expense and it keeps the running total. Takes 2.2 seconds to log this -> I swipe my card then type the amount into my app.
- I love this app because let’s say it is day 7 of the month – and I’ve gotten my nails done, picked up my husbands gift, ate out with girlfriends, and gotten my boys new boots. I may have dropped from $600 down to $300. So knowing that there is more than half the month left – with gas to buy, some more eating out – I am encouraged to choose wisely. I think twice before swiping my card – is this purchase really worth it? Hmmmm. Maybe not.
- Suggested Apps: Simple Budget (Android) and Left to Spend (iPhone)
Please do not read this and think that this is easy – it requires discipline and being a fan of delayed gratification. Plus you have to have a debt vengeance.
Credit Card Debt – I had it at one point – l was adding to it – then I started to change my spending choices – say no to things – work to increase my income – and not spend the increase – this enabled me to ultimately get rid of it.
Student Loan Debt – There was a time that I was so focused on getting rid of my student loan bill that my saving was minimal and so was my LFS Adulting Allowance. My husband and I had lawn chair living room furniture because we refused to buy a new couch until our student loans were gone. No shame.
It is during these seasons that I truly learned that with self control it is possible to live below ones means in order to hit a financial goal.
My desire is to see more people getting rid of the credit card balance mentality and to eliminate student loan debt. Learning to live below your means – helps to achieve this.
Over the next few months I will be sharing my monthly personal spending in full transparency. The months I come under will be shared and the months I go over will be shared. If I go over – my LFS Adulting Allowance for the next month will be reduced. I hate when that happens!
To make it very clear I do have an emergency savings fund established for true emergencies – like my furnace suddenly needing to be replaced (happened last month). The emergency fund is not used to fix me overspending on shoes I just had to have. If you do not have an emergency fund – I strongly encourage you to start saving up some money to have a little cushion.
Alright – so – if this post is talking to you – there is an action item. Set aside time to figure out your Adulting Allowance and set yourself up to spend within that amount. Be a good steward.
It is my hope that in reading this you understand the importance of not overspending and that in the coming months you can see this in action. The true goal being to enjoy life without creating/adding debt.
Thank you so much for reading & happy adulting on an allowance 🙂
Peace & Blessings,