It’s time to put your money on autopilot

  • those who want to think less about money
  • those that want to be financially secure
  • the bucket recommendations are geared toward U.S. residents
  • Consistently earning more than you spend each month
  • Knowing your monthly expenses
  • Putting your income automatically in bucket 1 (usually a checking account, but more on that later)
  1. Put in the current balance of your accounts
  2. Do what the spreadsheet says

The Bucket Finance System — How it Works

Think of where you put your money as buckets. Your checking account is a bucket. Your savings account is a bucket. Your retirement account is a bucket, your credit card is a bucket.

From the excess of one, the next is filled
Example bucket system. You’ll create your own based on your financial picture and preferences.
  1. A name
  2. A current amount (AKA account balance)
  3. A desired amount ($0 for debt)

Setting Up the Spreadsheet

  1. Put the Bucket Name in column B.
  2. Put the Current Amount in column C.
  3. Put the Desired Amount in column D.

Using the Spreadsheet

Each month, put in a new current amount for each bucket. This process is made easier if you consolidate your financial information using a service like www.mint.com.

Bucket Recommendations

I relied heavily on this flowchart from the subreddit r/personalfinance to create my buckets. Here is my recommendation for your buckets, but you can do what you want.

  • Twice your monthly expenses gives you a nice cushion for any unusual spending patterns, so you feel secure in automatically deducting your expenses
  • Any debt over 10% interest rate, with the 3rd bucket being the highest interest (AKA the avalanche method), the 4th being the next highest, etc…
Debts are depicted as negatives and the desired amount is zero.
  • Go back to your emergency savings account and increase your desired amount to 3 - 6 months of expenses
  • Any remaining debts with over 4% interest rate, with the higher interest first (just like with high interest debts)
  • Contribute up to the maximum yearly limit for a Roth or Traditional IRA. Resets to $0 for the next year
  • I like the Vanguard Target Retirement Funds as an investment for how straightforward they are
  • College, professional certifications, a car so you can get to work, etc…
  • Set aside in a separate savings account
  • Desired amount is the amount contributed in that year, as it resets each year
  • Desired amount is the amount contributed in that year, as it resets each year
  • Any remaining debts with the higher interest first (just like with high and moderate interest debts)
  • Vacation fund, saving for vehicle, down payment, etc…
  • Recommend putting this in a second savings account than your emergency savings to avoid confusion

tl:dr

Use this spreadsheet to help decide where to put your extra money once a month. Use minus for debts, and check out this flowchart from Reddit to get some inspiration for your buckets. I found this useful, hope you do too!

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Kyle Scheer

Kyle Scheer

I like writing about things that interest me. I’m hoping some of it may be interesting to you as well. Keep up with me and my projects at www.kylescheer.com