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How this 32-year-old New Yorker can get more out of her savings

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Welcome to Fix My Finances, Yahoo Finance’s new personal finance series. Each episode, we take a look at one viewer’s financial state of the union and offer advice, insight and information on a variety of issues, including how to save more, spend less and pay off lingering debt. 

This episode we spoke with Preeti, a 32-year-old book publisher who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She manages to put a portion of her take-home pay into her savings account every month, but she hasn’t developed a clear strategy for how to spend her money.

There’s a simple plan — the 50-30-20 budget — that will help Preeti manage her money in a straightforward way. It covers three areas:

1) Non-discretionary expenses

  • 50% of Preeti’s monthly after-tax pay should go toward her essentials: rent, utilities like electricity and heat, phone, internet, groceries, health insurance and clothing, which we discuss in the video above.

2) Paying down her debt and saving

  • 20% of Preeti’s monthly after-tax pay should go toward paying student loan and credit card payments and her savings.
  • She should put more money toward her credit card payments because the interest rate on her credit card is much higher than her student loan debt — around 15%.

3) Discretionary spending

  • Preeti can spend about 30% of her after-tax pay on the fun stuff — movies, comics, eating out, etc. It will require a bit of a balancing act month-to-month, but this limit will force her to be savvy with her spending. We discuss the benefits of this 30% limit in the video above.

If you want to find out more about the 50-20-30 budget, you can check out “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” written by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi.

Watch the video to learn more about how we can help Preeti fix her finances.

Want to be a part of this new series? We are looking for people in their 20s and 30s who need a money makeover.  Apply here.