Portion Control {Day 17 of 21 Days of Hope + Help for Your Money}

Portion Control {Day 17 of 21 Days of Hope + Help for Your Money}

This is Day 17 of 21 Days of Hope + Help for Your Money, a series providing you encouragement and tips to start the year off on a note of hope. Catch up on previous posts here. For future posts, come back daily or subscribe to have them emailed directly to you.

“I have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life…if I die by next Tuesday.” — Author Unknown

Do you ever wonder if you’re spending too much money in one category of your expenses and not enough in another? Or maybe you know you’re just spending too much in every area?

If you struggle with not having enough money to cover your obligations, it could be because one area of your budget has too large of a portion of your income.

Think for a moment if you had to split a pie with five of your closest friends (because you only give up pie to close friends, right?).

Suppose instead of dividing the pie up evenly, you had to cut the slices according to how hungry your friends were. Naturally, some would have larger slices while others would have smaller ones. And how big you cut that first slice determines the size of the remaining slices — because once the pie is gone, it’s gone.

The same is true of your money. If one particular part of your budget has a substantial piece of your “money pie,” then there’s only so much left over for the rest of things you need to cover.

This means you need to exercise portion control and make sure that every part of your budget gets its slice of the pie.

Action Step

Figure Out Your Percentages

Take a look at these recommended percentages for your budget, found in The Total Money Makeover. You’ll see that there is a range for each category.

Now, look at the budget you completed yesterday to see what percentage of your income you are spending in each category. To do that, total your expenses within each category and divide that number by your net income (take-home pay).

Make a record of your current percentages and compare them to the percentages below.

This will give you an idea if any of your categories are out of proportion in regards to your income. Use these recommended percentages as a guideline only and not as law.


  • Charitable Gifts: 10 – 15%
  • Saving: 10 – 15%
  • Housing: 25 – 35% (rent or mortgage including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance)
  • Utilities: 5 – 10%
  • Food: 5 – 15%
  • Transportation: 10 – 15%
  • Clothing: 2 – 7%
  • Medical /Health: 5 – 10%
  • Insurance: 10 – 25%
  • Personal: 5 – 10%
  • Recreation: 5 – 10%
  • Debt 5 – 10%

How do you think your spending compares to the recommended percentages?


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