Like someone, somewhere apparently said once: “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”
They were talking about budgeting...probably. Because knowing exactly how much money you make, and how to spend it, are big parts of getting your financial life in order. We Skimm’d all the words you need to know to get started.
50/20/30: A popular budgeting rule that breaks down your paycheck so 50% goes toward basic needs (housing, groceries, getting to work), 20% to saving and investing, and 30% for wants (Netflix, happy hours, haircuts).
All-Cash Diet: When you detox from bad money habits, like overspending. By using cash for expenses like clothes, food, and entertainment instead of swiping your debit or credit card. When you’re out of money, you’re done spending.
Assets: The fun part of your net worth equation. They’re things you own with a dollar value attached. Think: the cash in your savings account, stocks and bonds, your home, engagement ring...and anything else you have that’s worth something.
Budget: The other B-word. It’s a spending plan based on your needs, wants, and goals. Your money, your rules.
Gross Income: The total amount of money you earn before taxes or other deductions. Not actually gross at all.
Liabilities: Anything you owe. Like your student loans, credit card debt, and outstanding medical bills. When you go low, your net worth goes high.
Net Income: How much of your gross (total) income you pocket after taxes and other deductions, like 401(k) savings and insurance premiums. Not as nice as your gross income.
Net Worth: What you own (your assets) minus what you owe (your liabilities). The more commas, the better.
Pay Yourself First: When you save money as soon as your paycheck hits...and before you do anything else. Like pay your bills or buy groceries. Future you says thanks.
Take-Home Pay: A less fancy way to say “net income,” or the amount of money that hits your bank account after taxes are deducted from your paycheck. Look at this number when building your budget and deciding how much is realistic to save.