What is the 30-30-30-10 Budget Rule?

Are you thinking of trying a new budget, but are wondering “What is the 30-30-30-10 budget rule?”

You may have heard of the popular  50-30-20 budget, and perhaps you even tried it. If it wasn’t for you, luckily there are many other budget options to help you keep track of your money. And the 30-30-30-10 budget may be a great alternative budget to help you stay on track. Moreover, this budget may just be what you are looking for to help stop overspending, yet feel less confined.

What is the point of a budget?


A budget helps you keep track of how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out, to prevent overspending and help one save money and pay down or stay out of debt.

In short, if a business did not keep a budget, it would quickly go under. Nonetheless, this can easily happen to family finances too.

If you do not know where your money is going, you can quickly rack up debt. Not to mention, if you cannot pay the bills, you will have unnecessary stress from living paycheck to paycheck.

Therefore, using a budget will help you stay out of debt and create a calm, less stressful household.

Related: Why is Budgeting Important?

What is the 30-30-30-10 budget rule?


The 30-30-30-10 budget is a budget that allocates 30% of your monthly income to rent/mortgage/house expenses, 30% for necessities, 30% for financial goals, and 10% for fun money. Instead of using a simple input/output system, the 30-30-30-10 budget helps you become intentional with your money because you are telling your money where to go down to the penny, by using specific funds to help pay bills and save.

Although, this may not be the budget for everyone if you have not had success with other budgets, why not give this one a try for a few months and see if it works for your needs.

Here is the breakdown of the 30-30-30-10 budget using the following percentages based on your monthly income:


30% – Housing

30% of your income will go to housing. Make sure to take a look at your incoming money, so you can cover your mortgage or rent. It is best to go over these numbers before signing a lease or buying a house. If you are following the 30-30-30-10 budget rule, be sure to divide your income up so you can afford 30% for your rent or mortgage.

30% – Necessities

This portion of your budget will include groceries, clothing, school supplies, transportation, utilities, childcare, and any other necessities you must keep in your budget.

30% – Financial Goals

What are your financial goals? If you are trying to pay down debt, saving for retirement, build an emergency fund this money will help you save. Start by setting up monthly financial goals and then add yearly and lastly a five-year financial goal plan. You can start investing or if you plan to retire soon, write down how much you will need and start saving for your future.

10% – Fun Money!!!

Fun money can be used for entertainment such as going out to eat, festivals, concerts, or to the movies. You can also save some of your fun money to plan a vacation and budget a little each month so you can afford to go somewhere fun. Here is another post I wrote about budget vacation tips to help you save on your travels.


30-30-30-10 Budget Rule Categories

30-30-30-10 Budget Example:


To make it easy, let’s use $2000 as your monthly take-home pay or your “gross income.”

With the 30-30-30-10 budget rule, you would set aside $600 for housing expenses (30%).

Allocate $600 for financial goals such as debt retirement and investing. (30%)

Also, you would budget $600 toward your necessities (30%).

Lastly, $200 would be leftover to go out and have some fun! (10%)

This is a simple example of how the 30-30-30-10 budget rule will be utilized with a monthly income of $2000. As you begin to create your budget, use your own income and begin dividing your categories accordingly.

Grab your budget freebies here:

How to Budget Using the 30-30-30-10 Budget Plan


1. Calculate Take Home Income


In order to start any budget, one must calculate his or her take-home pay. You can do this by looking at your old check stubs or if you didn’t keep them around, look at your bank deposits. If all else fails, wait until you get paid and calculate this amount times 4 if you are paid weekly or times two if you are paid bi-weekly.

Once you have this amount, you are ready to start planning your 30-30-30-10 budget.

If you are really serious about creating a budget plan, you can check out my new budget pack in the printable shop! This family finance budget pack includes 19 pages of useful printable to help you determine your spending, debt repayment, budget plan, financial goals, savings, trackers, weekly, monthly, and annual bills, and much more.

It can be used in a binder to keep track of all your finances today! Take the stress and confusion out of budgeting.

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2. Create Financial Goals


What are your financial goals? Here are some financial goals examples to help you get started:

#1 Financial Goal – Pay off debt


If you have debt, make sure to include a debt repayment plan. I like the debt-snow ball method where you pay off your smallest debt first to gain a sense of accomplishment. Once you have paid down your first debt, use that extra money to pay down your next debt and so on, until you are debt-free.

#2 Financial Goal -Set aside money for your retirement


It is best to start saving for retirement early. If you start in your twenties you can build a nest egg taking full advantage of compound interest. Check with your HR department and see if your company offers a retirement plan and if not, open up a ROTH IRA yourself.

#3 Financial Goal – Try your hand at investing


You can start small with apps such as Acorns or M1 finance. If you are just learning these are good ways to get your feet wet without investing a lot. Try researching some companies and pick a few to invest in.

When you set a goal, make sure it is clear and measurable. Here are some examples of financial goals you can copy:

  1. I will pay off $2000 worth of debt, by December 2021.
  2. I will add 10% of my pay biweekly to a retirement account.

These are measurable and obtainable. If you plan to pay down debt, calculate how much you will need to put towards your debt every month.

You can learn more about investing with little money in this post by Money Under 30 here. 

As you create your financial goals, think of monthly and yearly goals. Also, include a five-year money plan.  Be sure to check back each month and at the end of every year to see if you are on target to reach your financial goals.

3. Write Down Spending


Often we spend without thinking too much about it, but if you start tracking your spending, it can be a real eye-opener. Many times we don’t realize the little purchases add up over the month and when we get the credit card bill, it is WAY more than expected.

This can throw off any budget.

Once you start tracking your spending, you can keep a tighter grip on your budget. You will know how much you spend on “extras” and perhaps start cutting back on some of the “wants” until you have reached your budget goals.

If you are looking to save money, you can take a look at this post listing 75 Frugal Living Tips to help you save more.

4. Divide Your Take Home Pay


Once you have a clear number to work with, divide spending up according to the 30-30-30-10 budget rule percentages.

5. Use Sinking Funds or Cash Envelope


In order to keep track of where your money is going, consider setting up sinking funds with your bank. You can learn more about sinking funds here. Another popular method is the cash envelope system. This works for household expenses such as groceries and gas, yet I find since many of us pay bills online, sinking funds are more useful for mortgage and utility payments.


Grab your budget binder by clicking here: I Heart Frugal Printable Shop✅

Budget Planner Printable

What If My Income and Expenses Don’t Match The 30-30-30-10 Budget?


You really have two options if your monthly expenses don’t match this budget:

  1. Try another method such as the 50-30-20 or another type of budget found in this post: How to Find the Perfect Budget for You.
  2. Find a side hustle so you can amplify your income. You can check out 75 side hustle in this post. 

In fact, if you are in debt and you want to pay your debt quickly, a side hustle may be just what you need. You can also try the debt snowball repayment method found in this post. 

How Can I Save More?


Saving more is a great idea and can be included in your financial goals. If you want to amp up your savings, try frugal living to cut costs on most things. I recommend keeping expenses that are really important to you and things you really love. For example, I like clothing and fashion. I don’t go crazy, but I do buy clothing each month because it is something I enjoy. However, I have learned to cut back on other areas, such as making my own lunch and coffee at home and only eating out once or twice per month then meal planning for the rest of my meals. It works for me!

Here are some other posts that will help you learn how to meal plan and save money:


Who Should Not Use the 30-30-30-10 Budget?


You should not use the 30-30-30-10 budget if you have a high mortgage or rent payment. Yet, downsizing is something to consider if your housing is taking up over 50% of your budget. You may be “house poor” and living somewhere you cannot afford.

Also, if you find this budget very confining, you may want to check out the 80-20 budget rule (explained below), which is less confining but may also promote overspending.

I always advise my readers to find something that works for them and stick with it. So if this budget isn’t your thing, find another financial plan that goes with your money mindset. Our goal is to live an amazing debt-free life and save for retirement. Our budget can help stop overspending and keep us on track to reaching our financial goals.

30-30-30-10 budget rule: Will it work for you? orange calculator

Other Popular Budgeting Ideas


If this budget isn’t your thing, the great news is there are many other budget ideas to choose from. Here are some brief descriptions of other budgets you can choose from:

Traditional Budget


This is my personal favorite. Simply figure out your “take-home” pay and subtract your spending. I was paid on salary so I had my employer take out a percentage for retirement, tax-free. I was able to save for my wedding and my husband and I are currently debt-free as we have paid off our mortgage and cars.

To read more about traditional budgeting, click here.

Zero-Sum Budget


A zero-sum budget assigns a category to every penny you make. In this type of budget, your income minus your expenses should equal zero, hence the name “zero-sum” budget.

One pro of the zero-sum budget is it help you be more intentional with your money and treats everything as if you are paying a bill including charitable donations, entertainment, and savings so you know exactly where your money is going instead of leaving things to chance. One con is that you need to determine where to put every single penny you make.

50-30-20 Budget


Made popular by Elizabeth Warren – Harvard Bankruptcy Expert and U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, the 50/30/20 budget divides your money up into spending categories. Warren coined the term “50/30/20” while helping teach her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, about money and they co-wrote the book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.”

In short, like the 30-30-30-10 budget, you are assigned your money to categories as follows:

50% – Needs (Food, Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Insurance)

30% – Wants (Shopping, Eating Out, Hobbies, Gym)

20% – Savings

As you can see, the categories are just grouped differently. The main purpose of any budget is to track expenses, pay bills, and avoid overspending.

80-20 Budget


This is similar to the 50/30/20 however in this type of budget, you will allocate 20% of your money towards savings and everything else is fair game. This budget is helpful for people that do not want to feel confined by a budget and since you are already saving 20%, you will feel more confident in spending. However, I suggest still making a plan to cover bills and not to go too crazy with spending, especially if you are in debt and working on paying it down. 

30-30-30-10 Budget Rule Final Thoughts…


Keep in mind, budgeting will only work if you find a budget that works for you. If you have been unsuccessful with budgeting in the past, it is time to try a different budget and perhaps learn to change your money mindset. Give the 30-303-30-10 budget a try and start paying down debt and saving, while still budgeting in the fun stuff too!

What next?


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