How to Not Budget and Reach Your Goals

Oct 28, 2022
Paper with the word budget crossed off with cash on a table.

I get it, not everyone is as obsessed with budgeting as I might seem to be and that’s ok! If you are one of those people that would rather pick up dog poop around the neighborhood instead of sitting down to figure out your monthly budget, I have a solution for you.

Say hello to the “One-Number” approach to budgeting. You might have heard about it online when searching for budgeting alternatives, I like this article on The Street if you want to dig in a little deeper.

What the one-number approach does is it tells you how much you get to spend in any given week without going into debt, knowing that your living expenses and savings are being taken care of.

I recommend this approach to people that get stressed out by calculating the details that might be involved in a budget.

To calculate your one-number, follow these six steps and start spending without the stress!

Start with your monthly take-home pay

How much money do you bring home after taxes? This is the pot of gold that you’ll start with to determine how much you can spend weekly, stress free.

Subtract fixed spending

Next subtract your monthly bills. This will include your rent or mortgage, phone bill, subscriptions like Netflix or your car payment. These areas should include everything that comes out of your accounts on a monthly basis.

Subtract non-monthly expenses

Now we dive into the items that aren’t paid for on a monthly basis. This might include your 6-month car insurance premiums, annual subscriptions like Amazon Prime, vacation money or more expensive holidays like Christmas. It’s important to figure out how much you spend in each of these areas and divide that number by 12 to calculate how much you need per month; you’ll subtract your monthly amount in this step.

Subtract how much will go towards your future

Now we are getting into areas of savings. By subtracting your monthly savings you can ensure that money is being set aside for the future or a rainy day. This will include how much you want to save for investing into your 401k, an emergency fund or paying off extra debt.

Calculate your flexible spending money

The amount of money that you are left with after step four is how much flexible spending money you have to spend guilt-free each month. This money can be used for anything that wasn’t already included above. 

Calculate weekly spending limit - Divide by 4.3

Did you know that there are 4.3 weeks on average each month? When we divide our monthly spending number above by 4.3 we get the amount that we can spend each week.

There you have it, the one-number approach. Remember this number, jot it down in your note app or create a list of transactions on the fridge to keep it top of mind. Maybe you’ll find joy in living each week by one-number instead of keeping track of multiple categories within a traditional budget.


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