One of the main reasons that people get stuck with too much debt is that they don’t have a budget in place. Planning is essential for saving money and reaching your financial goals. However, the world of financial literacy can be confusing. It can be difficult to navigate your way and figure out what you should actually be doing. We’ve compiled some of the different types of budgeting methods that exist and are available for you to use.
Different Budgeting Methods Explained
- The Receipt Method. Collect all of your receipts from the purchases you’ve made and keep them nearby. If you don’t get a receipt, make one by using a piece of paper. Label all your receipts by expense categories (i.e., housing, food, entertainment, etc.). Each month, look over your receipts and be aware of what you spent your money on and how much. See where you can cut out discretionary expenses and make the necessary changes going forward.
- The Envelope Method. The Envelope Method works by tracking and controlling expenses made with cash. Label envelopes by each of your expenses. Then prorate the amount of money you need to put into any particular envelope for the month. Try to do this for as many expenses as you can. For instance, Good Budget is an online app based on the Envelope Method. Except that instead of using physical envelopes, everything is virtual! Start by placing a certain amount of money for each expense that you have, such as groceries, transportation, eating out or eliminating debt. It even syncs your household budget between you and your spouse so that you know who spent what and where.
- Cash-Only Budget. There’s no room for plastic here, not even a debit card! One of the most effective budgeting methods is exclusively using cash. Give yourself an allowance. By not spending more cash than you have, you’ll strive to live within your means. Every morning, put the same, fixed amount of money in your wallet. Use cash only to make purchases. If you don’t have enough cash in your wallet then you can’t afford to buy it. This will make you realize the value of how much things cost and how much money you spend on a daily basis.
- Zero-Based Budget. The expression here is “give every dollar a job,” referring to the fact that the money you have in income matches exactly what is going out of your account. Especially good for those who want to be in total control of their money, every dollar is accounted for so you don’t get into consumer debt. Your money goes towards bills, mortgage, retirement, and/or emergency fund. If you were to save and spend exactly what was in each of your budgeted categories, you would literally be at $0.
You can combine a few of these methods to make the ultimate budget to fit your needs. Don’t hesitate to try one for a few months and then switch. However, make sure you give enough time to really know if it will work or not.