Should you use fourteen or nine categories? The answer is entirely up to you. If you decide to go with the nine, then the following is for you.
The Money Blueprint is comprised of nine categories (1) Tithe, (2) Savings, (3) Housing and Utilities, (4) Transportation, (5) Debt, (6) Food, (7) Life, (8) Clothing, and (9) Entertainment.
The first three categories are Fixed Expenses. This means that you have to pay them every month and they are usually pretty regular amounts. If you have a car payment, then part of your Transportation expense is fixed.
There are five categories that are Variable Expenses. This means, they can fluctuate every month. For five of these categories, you will need to have and carry cash. These categories are (1) Transportation, (2) Food, (3) Entertainment, (4) Clothing and gifts, and (5) Everything else (Life). The “Everything else” category includes medical copays and medicine, vacations, pet expenses, bank fees, other charitable giving, and allowances.
Remember, that you will not use cash to pay your car loan. Only have cash for gas, repairs, and maintenance amounts for your car. The Debt category is variable, as you decide how much money you are going to pay each month to eliminate your debt. However, you are not going to mail cash to your credit card or loan companies.
When preparing your Money Blueprint, use the recommended percentages, but make sure you don’t exceed 100%.
You can download a budget form (Money Blueprint) from the Resources Section. This spreadsheet does all the calculations for you. It automatically calculates the percentage you are spending in each category. All you have to do is enter the numbers into the spreadsheet. It is an Excel spreadsheet. However, it should work on Open Office, Libre Office, or Google Docs. Below are the nine categories and the recommended percentages for each category.
Category Recommended %
Housing & Utilities 25-39%
Food (Variable Expense) 5-15%
Transportation (Variable Expense) 10-15%
Clothing (Variable Expense) 2-7%
Life Medical/Health, Personal/Everything Else, Other Charitable Gifts (Variable Expense) 10-25%
Entertainment (Variable Expense) 5-10%
Debts (Variable Expense) 5-10%
Whether you choose the 14 or the nine categories, just ensure that the percentages do not exceed 100%. Also, use the subcategories for nine categories.
You will notice that I crossed through the spreadsheet download. If you want a Money Blueprint, go to either the Google Play or the Apple Apps and download the one you like from there. If anyone really wants the Excel spreadsheet, leave a comment. If enough people request it, I will put it back.