Work your budget first with the “Need” in mind. The need is a necessary expense for living (food, clothing, shelter, insurances expenses, and emergency fund/savings). The need is a “gotta have”. Work your budget with the need expenses and determine if your budget can be met. If your income does not exceed your expenses, then go back and work it until you have a surplus. There is a saying in Proverbs 10:22 which states, the blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. If there is something in your expenses that causes you pain and frustration, you may need to get rid of it. By doing so, freedom will come. Additionally, when your income is unplanned, always put some money away so when the rainy day comes you have it to pay those needed expenses.
If you have a surplus, work your budget with the “Want” expenses. The want is something above and beyond basic needs, better quality and better technology than the store brand. In most cases, the cost is higher (i.e. PDA vs. flip phone, name brand cornflakes instead of store brand – you get the picture!). You should be meeting your budget comfortably with the want expenses.
Lastly, if you have a surplus, move on to the “Desire” expenses. These are expenses that will move you closer to the achievement of your personal goals. Within each category, there is a level of budget constraint that you should experience. This means that accomplishment is around the corner for your vision.
Sample Budget Worksheet