What Is The 50-30-20 Rule?


Does the 50-30-20 rule work, and how can one save their finance applying the 50/3/20 rule?

Honestly, managing your finances can seem overwhelming and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. One simple and effective method for budgeting is the 50/30/20 rule. This rule can help you take control of your finances and make sure that your money is being allocated in the best way possible.

What is the 50/30/20 rule?

The 50/30/20 rule is a budgeting method that was popularized by Elizabeth Warren in her book, “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” The rule suggests that you divide your after-tax income into three categories:

Essential Expenses – 50%

The first category, which is allocated 50% of after-tax income, is for essential expenses. These are expenses that an individual cannot do without and are necessary for their daily living. These expenses include rent/mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transportation costs, insurance payments, and other basic expenses. It is essential to note that essential expenses can vary significantly depending on an individual’s location and lifestyle.

For example, if an individual lives in an area with a high cost of living, such as New York or San Francisco, their rent/mortgage payments, utilities, and other essential expenses may be higher than someone living in a less expensive location. Additionally, individuals with dependents, such as children or elderly parents, may have higher essential expenses due to the added costs of healthcare, childcare, and education.


Non-Essential Expenses – 30%

The second category, which is allocated 30% of after-tax income, is for non-essential expenses. These are expenses that an individual can do without or reduce if necessary. Non-essential expenses include dining out, entertainment, shopping, hobbies, and other leisure activities.

For example, an individual may enjoy eating out at restaurants, attending concerts or movies, or buying new clothes. These are all non-essential expenses that an individual can reduce if necessary. Instead of eating out at restaurants frequently, an individual can learn to cook at home, reducing their expenses significantly.

Savings – 20%

The third and final category, which is allocated 20% of after-tax income, is for savings. This category is critical, as it helps individuals prepare for future financial needs and goals. Savings can be used to create an emergency fund, pay off debts, contribute to retirement plans, invest in stocks, or save for a significant expense, such as a house or a car.

For example, an individual may use their savings to pay off their credit card debts or student loans, contributing to their long-term financial goals. Additionally, an individual can invest their savings in stocks or mutual funds, increasing their wealth over time.

How to implement the 50/30/20 rule

To implement the 50/30/20 rule, you first need to calculate your after-tax income. This is the amount of money that you receive after all taxes and deductions are taken out of your paycheck. Once you have this number, you can divide it into three categories:

50% for needs: Calculate all of your essential expenses and make sure that they don’t exceed 50% of your after-tax income. If they do, you may need to consider ways to reduce these expenses.

30% for wants: Make a list of all of your non-essential expenses and make sure that they don’t exceed 30% of your after-tax income. If they do, you may need to cut back on some of these expenses.

20% for savings: Allocate 20% of your after-tax income towards savings. This should include contributions to your retirement account, emergency fund, debt repayment, and other financial goals.

Benefits of the 50/30/20 rule

The 50/30/20 rule provides several benefits, including:

  1. Simplicity: The rule is straightforward and easy to understand, making it easy to implement and stick to.
  2. Flexibility: The rule allows for some flexibility in your budget, as it allows for non-essential expenses.
  3. Goal-oriented: The rule encourages you to prioritize savings and financial goals, helping you to achieve financial security and stability.


The 50/30/20 rule is a simple and effective budgeting method that can help you take control of your finances. By allocating your after-tax income into three categories, you can prioritize your expenses and save for your financial goals. With its simplicity and flexibility, the 50/30/20 rule is a great tool for anyone looking to improve their financial situation.