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You know you need a budget, right? Like, for real, I want you to win with your money, to say goodbye to money stress, and the BEST way you can do that is setting up a budget. If you have been following Reach for a while, then you are probably aware that I love zero-based budgeting. In week two of the ABCs of Intentional Finance, we are going to do an overview of the best budget strategies, with the hope that you will find something that works for you!
I would be crazy to write a post about budget methods and not start with my favourite budget method – zero-based budgeting! This method of budgeting makes so much sense to my brain. Plus it 100 percent changed the trajectory of our family.
Here is the basic idea – you are going to ‘spend’ every single dollar you make. Only ‘spend’ might mean save in an emergency fund, put into a sinking fund, or chunk down onto debt. The bottom line: you are deciding what every single dollar you make is being used for.
Total up your income.
- fixed payments (rent/mortgage, bills, debt payments, etc.).
- flexible payments (food, restaurants, entertainment, etc.).
- savings (emergency fund, sinking funds, retirement, etc.).
Adjust until the total of all your ‘payments’ is equal to your income.
For a detailed rundown on how to set it up and get it going, check out our full zero-based budget breakdown here!
The 50/30/20 Budget
The 50/30/20 is an awesome way of budgeting if you are looking for something flexible and simple.
You divide up your after-tax income into three categories – Needs, Wants, and Savings.
50% of your income for Needs.
30% of your income for Wants.
20% of your income for Savings.
I like that this plan gives you a sense of how much you should be spending in each general area.
Check out this great post over at Healthy Wealthy Skinny to learn the ins and outs of the 50/30/20 budget!
Budget By Paycheque
The Budget Mom has designed a fantastic method of budgeting that combines cash envelope spending with monthly & paycheque budgeting. Her printable planner and calendar pages take the guesswork out of budgeting, and the printable cash envelope designs you can buy on her site are so pretty, they might just convert this debit card junky to a cash life!
If you like a pen and paper form of budgeting, this is for you! Check out this post for an incredibly thorough run-through of exactly how to set up the system and personalize it for your life!
In doing some research on different types of budgets while writing this piece, I came across this post, and I love, love, love what Emma has to say about living beyond your means and how to change the way you deal with your finances.
Reverse Budgeting may make me rethink how I organize my budget. (Although truthfully, I think I am pretty much already doing this. I just didn’t realize it!)
First, you figure out your core expenses – how much you need to live your life. Then you save the rest. Don’t factor your income into it. (Unless your income doesn’t cover your core expenses! Then you’ll need to do some adjusting.) This way, you aren’t tempted to spend more money just because you are earning more.
Half-Payment Budget Method
Do you ever pay all of your bills on the first payday of the month, and then STRUGGLE to make it through to the next payday without dipping into savings or turning to credit cards? Yeah, I’m literally experiencing that this month, as I type this.
It happens to the best of us. There is enough money in the month to get everything paid and still have money for savings. BUT the timing doesn’t always line up.
That’s where the Half-Payment Budget Method comes in. You take the amounts of all of your fixed bills and split them in half. Take half of your mortgage from your first paycheque, and half from the second, then combine them to make your payment. This way you haven’t pulled the whole amount just to struggle through the next ten days, wondering how you’ll pay for groceries.
For more details about how to set up the Half-Payment Budget, check out this awesome post on It’s a Southern Life Y’All!
If overspending is your struggle with budgeting, cash envelopes could be what you need! Instead of swiping plastic, you use cash to pay for things in the world. When the cash is gone, that’s it. So if your budget for groceries for the month is $500, and you put $500 into your food envelope – you know that you have to make it work. It forces you to be more mindful of what you are buying and not going over budget in any of these areas.
Are you intrigued? Check out this post that breaks down the ins and outs of cash envelopes!
I will never stop shouting my love for budgeting from the rooftops because honestly, my budget changed my life. My marriage, my mental health, my family’s future – all made better by the power of the budget! I hope this overview of the best budget strategies gave you a place to start your budget!
If you have any questions about budgeting, drop them below – we’d be happy to chat!
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Check out the rest of the ABCs of Intentional Finance Series:
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