Lesson 4

Spend Out Of Buckets

Your daily spending can be:


The following are benefits for being sustainable in your spending:

Slide 1
Buy car with cash
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Slide 2
Go on guilt-free vacations using cash set-aside ahead of time.
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Slide 3
Never dip into savings for annoying costs, like DMV fees or repair costs.
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Slide 3
Set aside money ahead of time for giving, praying Holy Spirit will put people in your path.
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Become Sustainable by Including Irregular Expenses

Most people will budget just their regular expenses, such as rent, groceries, utilities, and gasoline. Whereas, our lives also have highly predictable, irregular expenses that are critical to save for every month.

How do we save for all these things without it getting messy and confusing?

Slowly put everything in YNAB buckets (or MoneyWise envelopes) ahead of time!

Buckets Video

Using Buckets


  1. Determine the monthly expense of everything. For example, if you only get running shoes once-a-year for $120, the monthly expense would be $10. If you tend to replace your computer every four years for roughly $1,500, then your monthly expense for having a computer would be $1,500/(48 months) = $31.25
  2. After every monthly paycheck, allocate these monthly expenses to each relevant bucket.
  3. Only pay for things out of your buckets. If your bucket is empty, then don’t buy it.
  4. Make your budget names as specific as possible. The more you personalize the bucket, the less likely you will raid it (e.g., “Kindle” instead of “electronics” or “Florence trip 2023” instead of “vacation”).
  5. Here is an example from my YNAB budget:


  • The middle column are actual expenses this month where I have drawn out of my bucket for costs incurred this month (or budget/envelope).
  • I allocate $22 every month of my monthly income to ‘Apple Watches’ in order to replace my apple watch every 3 years, as well as my wife’s watch. This bucket has grown to $280, and is big enough now to replace my wife’s Apple watch. Since her watch still is working, I will let the bucket continue to grow.
  • I plan on replacing my iPad every 5 years ($400/60 months) so I contribute $7 per month of my monthly income to my iPad bucket.

Create Buckets

Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet

STEP 1: Fill out .pdf Spending Plan

Please print and fill-out the .pdf file below.

Download Bucket Worksheet

STEP 2: Summarize Results

True cost of living (regular + irregular expenses)

  1. Home                     $________
  2. Transport              $________
  3. Insurance              $________
  4. Food                       $________
  5. Personal Care       $________
  6. Kids/Pets              $________
  7. Health                    $________
  8. Entertainment      $________
  9. Other                      $________

TOTAL                              $________

Step 3: Create spending plan

  • Using the results from the worksheet, create a YNAB or MoneyWise budget and begin putting money into the budgets (or envelopes) as a way to save for all of your predictable irregular expenses.

Step 4: Only Spend out of buckets with cash in them

  • Avoid the spending first trap where you are constantly stressing about whether you have the money after you have made the purchase.
  • Avoid the stress of dipping into your savings account to pay for things, worrying that you are doing a bad job since you are drawing from savings.
  • Remember to “name it and claim it” by making your bucket names as specific as possible. The more you personalize the bucket, the less likely you will raid it (e.g., “Kindle” instead of “Electronics” or “Florence trip 2023” instead of “Vacation”).


The greatest enemy to a spending plan is credit cards. In the next lesson, we will explore the dangers and benefits of using credit cards.

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