The Mission Driven Budget

by RJ

in Money Management

The problem I have with most annual budget spreadsheets, is the lack of big picture view. Yes, they tell you how much you spent on groceries in July, but what does that number really mean? How does knowing that number, improve your overall financial plan?

When it comes to budgeting,  most go about it the wrong way. They track income and expenses and then pat themselves on the back if they spent less than they earned.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly important to spend less than you earn month after month. But is spending less than you earn each month, really the sole purpose of personal finance? Spending less than you earn, should be just a by-product of what I believe personal finance is all, which is to use your money in the most efficient means as possible.

The goal of the mission driven budget is be able to see from a 50,000 foot mountain top view, if your money is furthering your life purpose. With one look you will know instantly, if you’re using your money to drive you towards your life’s mission.

Google Templates

I created the budget using a Google Spreadsheet Templates, which anyone can use.  The following will take you to the annual budget spreadsheet in Google Docs.

What’s Different About The Purpose Driven Budget?

  • Feature # 1 - Simple Expense Tracking – Only two categories, fixed and variable expenses. Doesn’t waste time tracking every category.
  • Feature # 2 - Mission Driven- Shows where your money is going. Lets you see right away, if you’re putting your money towards your goals.
  • Feature # 3 – Adjustable Goals – Can always change amounts by clicking on the formula in Row P.

Notes on Annual Budget Spreadsheet:

  1. In order to update the monthly averages, drag the formula from a previous month’s “Total” column into the new month. For example, lets say it’s August 1st. You just completed your budget from July 1st. The next step is to drag the formula from the June “Total” column into the July “Total” column.
  2. It’s not necessarily bad to be in the red one month. The goal is to be around even by the end of the year. For example, one month you might spend 3X what you should spend in the “Expenses In Line With Life Purpose” category, due to a once in a lifetime opportunity. Then the following two months, you spent $0.

Let me know what you think in the comments. If you have any updates to the mission driven budget, let me know. I’m no spreadsheet wizard and could use your help if you see room for improvement.

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{ 1 comment }

Norah @ FemitaNo Gravatar July 8, 2010 at 5:49 am

I think you touch on a very important issue here. Setting goals can be a great motivator. Too much people are caught up in statistics and fail to take action. The goal of pesonal budget management should not be restricted to gaining insight into your financial situation. It’s important to draw conclusions and use the information you have to reach specific goals. In the end it’s about optimization, not analysis.

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