There are so many ways to spend money and delicious marketing enticements to encourage money movement from your pocket to “their” pocket. That’s called velocity of money, by the way, which you want to work for you, not against you. Budgeting mindfully helps define boundaries on the path to creating greater stability, meaning and satisfaction for yourself.

What’s really important to you? Are you spending your money in line with that? Money problems are usually mindset problems. When you are working with your budget, think about aligning your money decisions with deeper core values. Tune in to your body, mind and spirit, then link it to your bank account. If seeing the world is an important value for you, trim your spending elsewhere and bolster up the travel line. If health is important, increase the grocery line item to incorporate organic, unprocessed foods. If nurturing your children is important, sharpen your pencil to see if you can stay home with them rather than paying for childcare. Perhaps create a home-based business to help with expenses. It’s ultimately more satisfying to connect money with your soul purpose.

On top of it, women face more financial headwinds due to earning less and living longer. What does budgeting for that look like? It’s quite simple really. Senator Elizabeth Warren (Harvard Law School professor specializing in bankruptcy) and her daughter Amelia wrote a book called All Your Worth. They defined a healthy spending rule of thumb called the “balanced spending formula” of 50/30/20. You can calculate this on a monthly or annual basis. It looks like this:

After-Tax Income ____________

50% of your after-tax income should go for must-have spending needs:
Food ____________
Housing ____________
Utilities ____________
Transportation ____________
Fuel/Maintenance ____________
Insurance ____________
Medical ____________
Childcare ____________
Debt ____________
Other ____________
Total ____________ Is this 50% or less of your after-tax income?

30% should go for would-like-to-have spending items:
Entertainment ____________
Eating Out ____________
Hobbies ____________
Travel ____________
Personal Care ____________
Shopping ____________
Books ____________
Other ____________
Total ____________ Is this 30% or less of your after-tax income?

Debt is not the path to wealth. Any debt payments should stay within the budget parameters listed above. Instead of borrowing for something you want, save the equivalent of the payments ahead and pay cash when you have it saved. If your spending is not close to the recommended amounts, determine how to make adjustments to move in the right direction.

20% for savings:
Emergency ____________
Intermediate Goals ____________
Retirement ____________
Other ____________
Total ____________ Is this 20% or more of your after-tax income?

The secret to saving is to take it out of your earnings immediately before you see it. Set up an automatic savings program with your bank or investment account. The rule of thumb is to have at least 3-6 months emergency savings first to cover must-have needs. Savings after that can go for intermediate range goals like education, a car or down payment on a home. Contribute automatically to either personal (IRA) or company (401k) retirement plans.

Money is not the measure of your worth as a person, but sufficient savings heightens a feeling of wellbeing within. Once you become more mindful about budgeting, your entire life experience will begin to change. It will allow you the freedom to connect with your inner soul gifts. This is authentic prosperity.