What Is The 50/30/20 Budget Rule And can it help you budget for a wedding?

If you’re looking to budget, the simplest ways to look after your money are often the best. For example, the 50/30/20 budget rule is a monthly budgeting method that helps you to categorise how much money to put towards your livings costs and your savings every month.

With the rule, you’ll be able to sort out a clear overall view of your monthly budget and be able to avoid spending too much money and put more towards your savings.

You may have downloaded a budgeting app but ended up ditching it after a few days so it may be best to give the 50/30/20 method a go.

What is the 50/30/20 budget rule?

The 50/30/20 rule is a simple rule of thumb budgeting method to help you manage your personal finance simply and efficiently regardless of financial health. The method is basically to divide your monthly after tax income into three spending categories which include:

  • 50% for needs – living costs like rent/mortgage, bills, transportation, or an emergency fund
  • 30% for wants – free-spending such as shopping, eating out, subscriptions and holidays and in this case the wedding budget.
  • 20% for savings or debts. – Debt repayments or putting money into a savings account, pension fund or investment.

So if you have a monthly income of £1500 after tax, you might categorise:

  • £750 on your needs
  • £450 on your wants
  • £300 on your saving and debt payments.

By maintaining your expenses within the three main spending areas, you’ll be able to efficiently manage your money. It makes it easier that there are only three categories that you need to manage which saves you from searching through details every time you spend.

A lot of people ask themselves why they can’t save more and the 50/30/20 rule is a brilliant way to create more structured spending habits with your monthly take home pay. You’ll find that you’ll be able to reach your financial goals easier and faster, whether you’re saving up for a special wedding day or working to pay off a debt.

However, you’ll also have to remember that everyone’s financial goals are different and that it’s okay if you’re spending doesn’t fit into the 50/30/20 rule. If you can follow this method then you can work to your advantage.

You can make sure a big difference from small changes over a period of time and so putting a larger amount of income into savings or debt repayments can help you feel more in control of your financial situation.

50/30/20 Budget rule diagram

The 50/30/20 Budget Rule visualised


Can it help you budget for a wedding?

The 50/30/20 budget rule is one simple method that can be important in sorting out your finances before you start planning for your wedding but can help you save money. It will also give you a timeline of how long you will need to save up a certain amount for your special day.

As you’ll be also saving as a couple, you’ll be able to see how much money you’ll need to save each month and how much is needed for paying for your needs and wants. It would help couples stick to a schedule of how much time they need to save up the right amount of money. Which will likely impact potential credit card debt.

How to apply the rule

Firstly, you need to check how much money you’re receiving regularly. If you’re working, it will mainly be your salary and if your income fluctuates every month, you’ll need to work out the average amount you’re making over 3 months.

Then, have a look at your bank statements and calculate your average monthly spending habits for the last 3 months. You’ll be able to see where you’re overspending and these categories may include your needs (living expenses) such as:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Bills
  • Food

Also your wants such as:

  • Shopping
  • Subscriptions
  • Eating out

Then make note of the money going towards:

  • Saving
  • Debt repayments

Once you got all the information together and know how much you’re spending, you can then calculate the percentages:

  • Divide you’re needs spending per month by your monthly income – E.g. £750 ÷ £1,500 = 0.5
  • Then multiply that figure by 100 – E.g. 0.5 x 100 = 50%

Make sure to check how the percentages compare when you calculate them and remember that you’re spending doesn’t need to fit into the 50/30/20 method. If you want to save more for the wedding then feel free to make some changes.

There is no need to worry if you feel that you’ve spent more than what was calculated during one month. Just get back on track with your spending and saving during the next month. It would be beneficial to have a safety net to cover any unexpected or emergency costs that may pop up so just keep that in mind.

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About Author /

Emma is the editorial director and has been with the brand since 2021. She is is a writer and editor with over 5 years of experience covering Weddings, Fashion and beauty.

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