How to Prioritize Your Spending

How to Prioritize Your Spending

Figuring out the differences between needs and wants will help you reduce financial stress.

Financial freedom requires knowing the difference between what you want and what you need. But sometimes it’s difficult to see these areas of your life clearly. So today, I’m going to give you a practical guide to help you understand what your real needs are so you can prioritize your spending accordingly.

There are four main categories of needs in your life, and we’re going to talk about common expenses within each of these categories. We’ll discuss them in order of importance. And if something doesn’t appear on any of these lists, you can probably live without it.

But first, I want to tell you about Stress-Free Finance, a free program we have created to help you make sense of your overwhelming financial life. This five-part video series has short, simple lessons to help you solve money problems so you can stop worrying and build a better future.

Here’s a preview of the free video series:

Play Video about Stress-Free Finance

Now, back to the topic at hand:

To prioritize your spending and reduce financial stress, it helps to break your expenses down by categories. Here are your four most important expense categories, listed in order.

1) The Essentials

If you’re in a financial emergency, these are the things that you need to focus your spending on. Other things in life can wait, but you can’t ignore these expenses.

  • Food – You and your family have to eat. You don’t need fancy food, but you do need to make sure everyone who depends on you has enough to stay healthy.
  • Utilities – Pay for lights, water, heat and air conditioning after you buy food.
  • Transportation – You need to get back and forth to work, to the doctor, etc. This can be public transportation or a modest car and gas.
  • Clothes – Make sure you have clothes for work, your kids have clothes and shoes that fit, and that everyone has something warm in winter.

2) Major Expenses

If you’ve already covered the essentials, this is what you should buy next:

  • Housing – You need a safe place to live where you and your family can feel at home.
  • Health Care – Going to the doctor can be expensive, and you might be tempted to skimp on medical care to save money. But ignoring small health problems now can lead to bigger, more expensive problems later.
  • Insurance – Health insurance makes medical care much more affordable. You also need insurance for your car and your house, as well as life insurance.
  • Education – If you have kids in school, you will probably need to buy some supplies, books, clothes and other things to help them succeed.

3) Annual Expenses

This category includes some things you might not think about regularly, but they’re important expenses. Keep these in mind as you budget.

  • Taxes – If you think you’ll owe taxes to the government when you file your taxes, save up in advance to pay the bill when it comes due.
  • Vehicle Registration – If you own a car, you’ll have to pay to renew your license or registration every year. We’re going to set money aside for this as well.
  • Membership Dues – If you’re a member of a professional organization, a neighborhood association or some other group that requires annual dues, you should set some money aside throughout the year to cover this cost.

4) Debt Payments

If you have covered your family’s essentials and major expenses, you need to make payments toward your debt. Since debt holds you back from financial freedom, you should use any extra money you have to pay it off.

Getting your finances in order isn’t easy. But once you learn the difference between what you want and what you really need, you’ll be well on your way to reducing financial stress and building a prosperous future.

To experience financial freedom, you have to prioritize your spending.

About the Author

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the founder of 30 Days to Financial Freedom. He has helped thousands of people start the journey toward living the lives they were made for.

More Articles

Introducing 30 Days to Financial Freedom

In just 10 minutes a day, this new online program will help you live the life of freedom you were made for.

Meet the Budget Genius

Meet the Budget Genius, the simple and powerful tool from 30 Days to Financial Freedom. This introduction will show you how the system works.

One Month to Change Your Financial Life

Learn to build your budget, start your savings, defeat your debt and fund your future. You can begin to change your financial life in just 30 days.

Risk-Free Guarantee

With 30 Days to Financial Freedom, you’ll save more in the first month than it costs to join the program. That’s our risk-free guarantee.

Grow Financially by Giving Money Away

Building a habit of generosity will empower you to live in greater freedom.

Why You Need a Budget

Creating a strategic plan is a critical part of the journey to freedom. Here are five reasons why you need a budget to live the life you were made for.

Live the Life You Were Made For

You were created for freedom — including financial freedom. Isn’t it time you started living the life you were made for?

Worrying about money makes life miserable.

30 Days to Financial Freedom gives you biblical insights and practical tools to eliminate financial stress and build a prosperous future.

About the Author

Scroll to Top
Stress-Free Finance
Stress-Free Finance

Get the free videos series!

Stress-Free Finance

Get the free videos series!

Stress-Free Finance
Stress-Free Finance

Get the free videos series!

Stress-Free Finance

Get the free videos series!

Fighting about Money?

Our free video series “Money-Proof Your Marriage” will help you stop arguing and start building a more prosperous relationship.

Stressed Out?

Our free video series “Stress-Free Finance” will help you find solutions to your money problems so you can stop worrying.

Stressed Out?

Our free video series “Stress-Free Finance” will help you find solutions to your money problems so you can stop worrying.

Pastors Free Laptop Logo

christmas gift card sale

Give the Gift of Financial Freedom

Pastors Free Laptop Logo


Start 2022 in Financial Freedom!

Pastors Free Laptop Logo

Black Friday Sale

Ends in:

Introducing 30 Days to Financial Freedom

Tired of money problems?

We’ll help you stop worrying about money and start building a better future in just 10 minutes a day.

Introducing 30 Days to Financial Freedom

Thinking it Over?

Save 15% on your Full Membership when you join today. Your discounted will be applied automatically.

Hope & Freedom Logo Card

Register for free course access.

Already have an account? Log in here.

30DFF White Logo Retina

Log In

30DFF White Transparent Logo

Log In

30DFF White Transparent Logo

Your first video is on the way!

Check your email for a message from We’re sending you a link to the first video in the series “Stress-Free Finance.”

Ready to get back to what you were reading?