The F*CK YES Budget: If It’s Not A F*CK YES, It’s EXCESS

The F*CK YES Budget: If It’s Not A F*CK YES, It’s EXCESS

Think about all of the things we say yes to.. and the things we have to say no to, as a result.

Coffee out this morning? You know it! Pastry for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do. Lunch with coworkers? Sure! Oooh! 40% off at *insert favorite store here* – I’d be stupid to not buy something! Don’t feel like cooking dinner? Might as well grab pizza on the way home. Friends want to go on a trip? It’s a once in a lifetime experience!

The problem with this approach is that money is a finite resource. We can’t say yes to everything, so in saying yes to things that aren’t a F*CK YES, we end up having to say no to things that are a F*CK YES.

Enter the F*CK YES Budget. What the f*ck is that, you ask? It’s a budgeting strategy that aligns your spending with your true priorities. If you want to live a life that reflects your values, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

Let’s look at an example using an approximation of my own priorities and budget. Yours may be completely different, so tailor it to your own life. The thought process is the important piece!

Before we start assigning dollars, we need to list our priorities in order from most to least important. Pay particular attention to your #1 priority.

  • debt freedom – paying off my student loan debt
  • a living space that I find relaxing and inspiring
  • being able to get to work and earn money
  • electricity for light to read and for video games / streaming
  • internet for streaming and browsing
  • cell phone for making my commute bearable
  • delicious food and occasional food-like substances
  • physical activity
  • spending time with friends
  • experiencing a variety of events in the city
  • seeing more of the world


Now let’s build a F*CK YES Budget based on these priorities.

  1. Choose your F*CK YES. This is the priority that demands all of your focus, the ONE goal that gets you fired up every day. It could be funding education, buying a car, saving for retirement, paying off your mortgage, or something else of your choice.
    • debt freedom – paying off my student loan debt
  2. Outline your LIFESTYLE. These are your standard monthly expenses (excluding your F*CK YES). Housing, bills (utilities, transportation), food, childcare, etc.
    • rent: rent, renter’s insurance
    • bills: transit pass, electricity, internet, cell phone
    • food: groceries
  3. Establish an EXCESS fund. The category is called EXCESS for a reason – it’s everything above your F*CK YES and LIFESTYLE categories. This fund is important because it is in direct competition with your F*CK YES. Every time you spend money from EXCESS, you have to check in with your values. Do you want to go out for dinner tonight, or do you want to be debt free? You may choose dinner out sometimes.. that’s okay! The idea is implementing an extra mental step between you and an expense. If there’s no room in your budget for an EXCESS category, ask yourself how you can (1) reduce your LIFESTYLE and/or (2) increase your income.
    • extras: meals out, alcohol, fitness, entertainment, travel, etc.
  4. Review your spending from the previous month and allocate it among F*CK YES, LIFESTYLE, and EXCESS. Were your priorities appropriately represented? Could you spend less in EXCESS to prioritize your F*CK YES? When I first started making student loan payments, I paid the minimums and spent a LOT on meals out, shopping, and entertainment. Obviously being debt free was not my main priority and my budget reflected that.
    • F*CK YES – $1,000 / 25%
    • LIFESTYLE – $1,600 / 40%
    • EXCESS – $1,400 / 35%
  5. Evaluate your spending and set a budget for the next month. Now it’s time to assign the dollars. How soon can you achieve your F*CK YES if you cut back on EXCESS? Fast forward a few months, this is where I am now. Debt free is clearly the number one priority – I doubled my payments! Could I do even better? Probably! Adjust when you feel confident in your new level of spending – challenge yourself!
    • F*CK YES – $2,000 / 50%
    • LIFESTYLE – $1,600 / 40%
    • EXCESS – $400 / 10%
F*CK YES Budgeting: Show me your budget and I’ll show you your priorities.

Why the F*CK YES Budget Works

  • It’s dynamic. As your priorities change, the budget will change! When I pay off my student loans, I’ll add saving for retirement as my new F*CK YES and adjust accordingly. If I find a new hobby that costs more than my EXCESS category, I can pull back on my F*CK YES.
  • It aligns your spending with your priorities. It’s all about shifting your mindset. The F*CK YES Budget forces you to realize what you’re giving up when you spend money on EXCESS, and that’s what motivates you to make different choices.
  • It isn’t deprivation. I would argue that it’s a positive thing to spend some money on EXCESS. Feeling trapped by your budget will only cause you to ignore it, sabotaging your progress over the long-term. The F*CK YES Budget is about intentional, gradual, sustainable change.

So, what’s your F*CK YES?


9 thoughts on “The F*CK YES Budget: If It’s Not A F*CK YES, It’s EXCESS”

  • That’s a very intentional way to handle money and so much better than the aimless drifting and reactive ways that most people adopt. I do find it odd now that I’m retired and have virtually unlimited resources (at least versus the lifestyle I’m accustomed to) that nothing I spend takes away from anything else I might want to spend on. Now the limit is time. But everything you said about money translates directly into how you spend your time once money is no longer a constraint. Very thought provoking post!

    • Coming from a formerly aimless drifting and reactive past, intentionality is the way to go! I love your application of the concept to time now that money isn’t an issue for you, great connection!

      • Agreed – I like it. I like it how it places the focus on things that really matter. I, too, have been someone who will say yes to too many good things, and miss out on the BEST things. I have to constantly remind myself of this principle, whether we’re talking money or (worse) time. For some reason though, I find it easier with money – it’s finite, easy to estimate in advance, and easy to measure – rather than time. Time I’m still working on…

  • I did SO well with a F*CK YES budget when I was paying off my student loans, but once they were paid off, I definitely slid sideways. I didn’t get myself into debt, but I definitely spent more in the excess category than really brought me value. Working on ratcheting that back down – I agree, having an very specific concrete goal is the key for me to stay on track.

    • Nice! Congrats on paying them off! I think the slide is a common reaction to reaching a goal. Do you have a new F*CK YES now?

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