Step Three: Limit Your "Wants" to 30 Percent. This sounds great on the surface. Can you put 30 percent of your money toward your wants? Hello, beautiful shoes, trip to Bali, salon haircuts, and Italian restaurants. Not so fast. Remember how strict we were with the definition of a "need"? Your "wants" don't include extravagances. They include the basic niceties of life that you enjoy, like that unlimited text messaging plan, your home's cable bill, and cosmetic (not mechanical) repairs to your car.
Envelope Budget: An envelope budget is a budget where you assign money to each category and deal with cash for several of your expenses. You take the cash out for each month and put the money into different envelopes labeled for the category. When you run out of money in that category, you stop spending. This is a good strategy if you are not good at tracking your expenses. Most people still pay their bills online through their checking account. In order to make this work, you cannot use your debit card for the categories that you have envelopes for.