So you want to create a budget, but you don’t know where to start? We’ve been there. There are so many different ways to create a budget that works for your lifestyle, that it might feel overwhelming. Below, we’re outlining five different budget styles and how they work. Once you’ve picked your technique, you can use the Brigit app to stay on top of your finances and track your spending.
Best for: Someone looking to hit reset or save money.
How it works: The barebones budget is all about discipline. With this style, you pay for your essentials (rent, car payments, insurance, groceries, and bills) and save the rest. This method is great if you’re looking to bulk up your savings or pay down a large debt. But it doesn’t leave room for extras like vacations or dining out.
Best for: Someone living paycheck-to-paycheck.
How it works: This budget style is all about making a plan for how you’ll spend each paycheck, so it focuses on the money you currently have on hand. If you know you get $1,000 each pay period, you can budget exactly how you’ll spend that $1,000 between bills, savings, and the fun stuff. Anything extra goes to savings.
Best for: Someone looking to balance discretionary spending with saving and investing.
How it works: With this method, you set aside 50% of your monthly income for necessities (food, rent, gas, insurance and bills), 30% for your wants (this is all the fun stuff, like vacations and dinner out), and 20% for saving and investing. Get more details on this type of budget here.
Best for: Someone who likes to be in control of every dollar.
How it works: The zero-based budget is simple: your monthly income should equal your expenses, with no money left at the end of the month. Start by assigning spending limits to different budget categories (rent, car payments, groceries, savings) and make sure everything matches your income. With this method, you’re not spending more than you’re bringing in and every dollar is accounted for.
Best for: Someone who doesn’t want to use a new tool (and loves to plan ahead).
How it works: This method takes advantage of a tool you probably already use in your daily life: your calendar. Add pay days and bill due dates directly to your calendar and keep a running daily balance to keep you on top of your spending. If you tend to forget about due dates and upcoming events (*cough* your dad’s birthday *cough*), this style is perfect for you