Judging from my expense report and updated salary figures, here is the breakdown for next year's budget.
Home = 20%
Giving = 20%
Food = 10%
Auto = 7.5%
Utils = 6.7%
Travel = 5%
Shopping = 2.5%
Education = 5%
Retirement = 5% +(5% matching)
Savings = 20%
My goal is to have a fully funded emergency fund of 6 months expenses. My education budget went up, just hoping I can finish up some of my classes before the baby comes. The food budget has increased slightly, but everything is down relative to higher income except for savings and giving.
I always have this tension when it comes to giving and saving. On one hand it is good to be generous, on the other hand we need to save for the future. I think that is one of the reasons why I love Dickens' A Christmas Carol
so much. I relate very much like Ebenezer Scrooge. One side of me always wants to save and accumulate as much as possible, but I also know that in the end it isn't how much you've saved, but how well you used the resources and talent you that God has given you.
To those who were given much, much is required. I know that and I keep that in mind every time I spend on things. Maybe that's why I struggle so much to buy things... and struggle so much to be generous and struggle so much to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I need to be a faithful steward of the things God gave me. Not to spend it on self, but to use this stuff to point people to our future where we will live in mansions with many rooms, where we will eat the finest of foods, the best of meats and the finest wines... I await the wedding feast, the New Heaven and the New Earth, the City of God, the New Jerusalem... where we will have new bodies, resurrected bodies, living and eating and enjoying and worshiping God... everything we long for here on earth, just in a more perfect way.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Saving, and Happy Giving!