Our biggest stressors: Time & Money

Our biggest stressors: Time & Money

FIVE hours to run kids around, do any housework or yardwork, help kids with homework, do something fun with the family, relax, get ready for the next day and bed.

That’s a “typical” day for an adult.  Sure there are some tweaks there.

  • Less sleep  +2hrs
  • Fast or frozen food +30min
  • Work longer  +2hrs

The exact number of hours you have as “usable hours” are going to vary for each person. Probably, on average, you’re looking at six hours to get everything else done, besides work and sleep. How you spend that time is entirely up to you and will be based on your priorities.  Determining how you spend your time is crucial to finding work life balance.

Feeling overwhelmed by the seeming lack of time you have? Let’s take a look at your priorities!

  • Write out your current schedule
  • Take a hard look at your priorities and determine what’s really important to you.
  • With that information you are empowered to make time work for you, rewrite your new schedule
  • Experience the joy and peace that comes from proper work-life balance.

This same idea of time allocation within a 24-hour period can be applied to your money. No matter what your income is, you only have that much to take care of all your needs and wants. For the sake of example, let’s just say that you make and take home $1000 per month. There are only four things you can do with that “take-home” money.

You can live – spending all you earn to support a certain lifestyle. You can give – to help take care of those who are less fortunate than you are. You can owe – borrowing to support a lifestyle that is more than make, and thus mortgaging your future. You can grow – saving and investing for your long-term goals and dreams. (There is a fifth thing you can do, which is pay taxes, but since we are talking take-home pay, we will skip that topic here.)

The question becomes, “how much is enough to live?”

Some people like to use the 70-20-10 rule for guiding their money. That is, 70% ($700) of the money is for living, 20% ($200) of the money is for growing (saving/investing), and 10% ($100) of the money is for giving. This is a noble ambition, and it would be great if we all lived like this.

However, many people deal with that fourth category, OWE, in a big way. They owe for student loans, cars, vacations, “toys,” medical bills, and living beyond their means (keeping up with the Jones’). Their money might breakdown more like 70-30-0-0 ($700 living, $300 owing/debt, $0 saving, $0 giving). In some cases, the owing percentage keeps growing, beyond that which is actually made. That is a scary place to be.

Have you ever looked at your spending or cash flow in this way? Have you looked at your income and wondered where it out goes? This is a very simple way to get a handle on what is happening to your paycheck and to help you make adjustments over time.

Start by listing your income or take-home pay. Then subtract how much you give, save, and use to pay debt. What’s left is what you allocate for living (food, gas, utilities, clothing, gifts, gym membership, eating out, entertainment, insurance, etc.).

Example 1

Income                 $1000                                    *US Median Income       $36,000 annually (rounded up)

Giving                   $    10  1%                                                  Giving             $      360

Saving                   $    25  2.5%                                              Saving           $      900

Living                     $  965  96.5%                                            Living              $34,740

Example 2

Income                 $1000                                    US Median Income          $36,000                      

Giving                   $   100  10%                                              Giving             $  3,600

Saving                   $   200  20%                                              Saving            $  7,200

Living                     $   700  70%                                              Living              $25,200

Example 3

Income                 $1000                                    US Median Income          $36,000

Giving                   $  200  20%                                               Giving             $  7,200

Saving                   $  250  25%                                               Saving            $  9,000

Living                     $  550  55%                                               Living              $19,800

Your numbers will be different but using this model you can determine where your money is going and make a plan for where you want it to go. You can change your current situation by following these steps:

  1. Track where all your money goes.
  2. Decide where you want it to go in the future (budget or spending plan).
  3. Decide to live below your means. In other words, spend less than you make.
  4. Decide not to use debt…at all if possible, but certainly not for keeping up with the Jones’ (they’re broke!).
  5. Decide to put money into savings so you can create some financial space and safety in your life.
  6. Decide to give to help others. Be thankful and content with what you have. Giving will break the power that money has on your life.
  7. Be free!

*The U.S. Census Bureau lists the annual real median personal income at $35,977 in 2019.