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How to Budget for All the Items on Your Bucket List

05/06/2015 12:37 EDT | Updated 05/06/2016 05:59 EDT
U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr
Add this little Alaskan adventure to your bucket list! This is a shot from 2008 of the Surprise Glacier during a trip to Alaska to catalog glacial melt and other climate-related research. The glacier is part of the Denali National Park and Preserve in Prince William Sound. An iconic shot from our own photographer, Don Becker. Taken on August 22, 2008.

When creating a budget for your bucket list you have to keep in mind a bunch of things. The first thing is that there will always be more items to spend on vs. how much you bring in. You have to make a funnel with your money and make sure that the most important things that TRULY make you happy get the money vs. the uncool things that our money goes to now. We have one kick at "the bucket" so let's all make sure that we use our money as a fuel to get everything we want in life. This is how you do it.

1. Make a list of all the things that truly make you happy. A home should be one of them! Then list them off on paper. If you like to travel, carve off money so that you can take a bunch of trips. If you like cars, allocate money for that. If you want to get your MBA that should be on the list with a dollar amount too. Don't be boring! This is your life so write down everything that would be awesome. We are going to do EVERYTHING.

2. List all of the things that you have to pay for like rent or mortgage, student loans, electricity, insurance, etc. If there is no way to cancel or get rid of the item -- it goes on the list. List them in order of expense. So the most expensive items comes first, second most expensive, etc. You get the idea.

3. Figure out how much you make. Look through your chequing account and add up how much actually goes into your account. If you work for yourself or contract, take an average from your income tax return and divide it by 12. That will give you an estimated monthly amount. Then write that number at the top of a blank page.

4. Look through your list of items that you want to achieve and start to deduct them. Take off your mortgage/rent and mandatory deductions and then start adding in the items that get you most excited. Took at the list of awesomeness that you TOTALLY want to do and see which ones give you a bit of a "spark" when you read them. The biggest "spark" should give it priority so the item that gets you most excited should be highest on your list!

5. Write all of your deductions down and subtract them from your total income amount. Try to fit in as many life goals as you can. Even if it takes over a year to save for something you've always wanted -- do it. If some items can wait or your "spark" isn't as great, move it down the list or out a few years. You deserve to do everything on your list.

Think how great it will be to put a plan of action against all of these things you've dreamed about but never achieved yet. Don't let you money slip away. Make sure you spend it on things that make you happy vs. crap you don't need. If your cable bill is low on your list -- cancel it. Same with the gym you don't go to and use it towards things you really love. In one year when you look back and you've banged off so many of your life goals -- think of what a star you'll feel like.

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