Zero Based Budget Template: A Guide to Zero Based Budgeting

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Zero based budgeting is a process where every dollar that comes in goes to the number one priority.

It’s an effective way of prioritizing your money and executing properly, but it can be hard to know where to start when you are just getting started with this new system.

Budgeting can be a nightmare when you don’t have the mindset and tools to make it easier.

So many people struggle with money- they are overspending on things their family doesn’t need or doesn’t enjoy, which causes stress in their lives. But if your goal is financial freedom, it’s time to learn about a new budgeting system.

If you have a desire to:

  • Spend less than you make
  • Get out of debt
  • Save money faster
  • Become financially independent

Then, you are in the right place! Let how easy and simple zero based budgeting really is!

Decide what you want your budget to achieve: a zero-based budget forces you to think about what you want your money to do, rather than just accepting the status quo.

If you want to use zero based budgeting but aren’t sure where to start, this article will guide you through setting it up in an easy and effective way.

Zero Based Budget template is a zero budgeting plan that helps you break down your expenses into categories. It provides an easy way to create budgets and track the spending in each category over time.

What is zero based budgeting?

Zero based budgeting is a financial planning strategy where every dollar in the budget has a specific purpose. With this type of budget, it can be helpful for those looking to get their finances in order or who want more control over their spending.

A zero based budget is when you start from scratch every month and assign every dollar a job.

Income – Expenses = $0

You begin by calculating your income for the month, then subtracting your known expenses. What’s left is $0, which means you have to get creative with how you’ll spend the rest of your money.

You can use a zero based budget template to help make this process easier.

What are the benefits of using a zero based budget template?

Picture of a monthly budget for zero based budget

There are many benefits to using a zero based budget template.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it allows you to see where every penny is going. This comprehensive view gives you a clear picture of your expenses and makes it easy to identify areas where you can cut back on spending.

In addition, using a zero based budget helps individuals worry less about their financial health. Since all living expenses are accounted for in the budgeting process, there is no need to panic if an unexpected expense pops up. This peace of mind can be very helpful when trying to stick to long-term financial goals.

A zero based budget template is also easy to follow. The basic plan can be executed without any difficulty, making it a great choice for people who want a simple way to manage their finances.

How to create a zero based budget template?

Picture of a notebook that says budget planning to create a zero based budget template

A zero based budget template can be helpful in tracking your money and achieving financial goals.

There are a variety of ways to create a zero based budgeting template, and no one size fits all approach. That is why we offer a zero based budget template in our shop that you can modify to your needs.

There are a few key things you’ll need to create your zero based budget template. The first is a list of your monthly income, expenses, and savings goals for the year. This will help you stay on track and plan ahead.

The next step is to individually itemize each expense and income. This may be time-consuming but it’s crucial in order to get an accurate picture of where your money is going.

After that, it’s important to track your spending and income on a monthly basis. This will help you see if you’re meeting your goals or not.

It is important to choose the proper zero based budgeting template for your needs.

What are the 5 steps in creating a zero based budget?

There are five steps in creating a zero-based budget. This system was made popular by Dave Ramsey.

We will quickly outline the five steps to make your first zero based budget. Then, we will go into detail on creating your own zero based budget.

  1. List your income
  2. List your expenses
  3. Subtract your income from expenses to reach zero
  4. Track your expenses.
  5. Make a new budget for the next month or pay period.

One way to ensure success by following a zero based budget is by taking small steps instead of making large changes all at once–this can be difficult for some people who are used to living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Another suggestion is to allow yourself some “fun money” so that you don’t feel too restricted while trying to adjust your spending habits.

By following these tips and using a zero based budgeting template, you can successfully get yourself back on track financially!

How to Create a Zero Based Budget

A picture of someone working their zero based budget.

Zero-based budgeting is a system of budgeting that has been gaining in popularity since the introduction of personal computers and spreadsheets. It encourages decision-making based on values and not numbers, which is important in a time when numbers are often used to make decisions.

Zero-based budgeting allows you to start with a clean slate and create your own vision of what the future looks like.

You will need to gather all of your financial information together, including your income, debts, and expenses.

Step # 1: List out your income

The first step in creating a zero based budget is to list out all of your income.

This should include job income, side hustles, rental properties, alimony, child support, and investment income. Once you have a complete picture of your income sources, you can start to make decisions about how to allocate your money.

It is important to decide how you plan to budget your money on a monthly basis, bi-weekly basis, or by paycheck.

Step #2: Tally up your expenses

Be sure to include any regular expenses you have as well, such as rent or mortgage payments, car loans, and credit card bills.

Think of all of the budgeting categories you need for absolutely everything.

This will help you track your spending more closely and make it easier to find areas where you can cut back. Some people recommend creating as many budgeting categories as possible, including for example:

  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Health care

If there’s something that doesn’t fit neatly into a category, come up with a name for it that will help you remember what it is. For example, “clothes” or “misc.”

You’ll also need to factor in any debts you may have.

Step #3: Get your budget to zero

Once you have a full list of your expenses, it’s time to subtract that amount from your income. Then, figure out if you are close to zero.

This is where you will likely have to make adjustments.

There are two ways to get your budget to zero- either spend less than you make (aka cut spending) or make more money.

If you want to stay out of debt and save money, it’s important to do one or both of these things. It may be difficult at first, but with a little bit of effort, you can get your budget under control and start saving for the future.

Budgeting is an extremely important tool to have in your financial arsenal. It allows you to have more control over your money and can help you make more of it. By following a few simple steps, you can get your budget to zero and start saving for the future.

Step # 4: Track your expenses

In order to be successful with a zero based budget, you have to be willing and able to track your expenses. This means being mindful of every penny that goes in and out of your account – ALL month long!

By tracking your expenses, you’re ensuring that every penny goes into the right place. This enables you to see where your money is going and how you can save in specific areas.

Expenses tracking apps allow you to easily record, categorize, and analyze your spending. They let you see how much money you spend on different categories of items from groceries to travel and more. Some of the most popular apps are Simplifi, You Need a Budget, and Qube Money.

This also makes tax season less daunting because you’ll have a complete record of all of your transactions.

You can also use this information to refine a realistic budget that works for you.

Step # 5: Make a new budget for each month or paycheck

Creating a new budget every month is an important part of zero based budgeting. This helps ensure that you are always aware of your current financial situation and can make changes as needed.

It is best to create your budget before the month begins, so you have time to adjust as necessary.

A zero-based budget is a great way to get your finances in order. It can be tough to stick to, but it’s worth it because it forces you to pay attention and make adjustments.

This is why the budget by paycheck method has gained popularity in conjunction with the zero based budgeting system.

Tips to Make Your Zero Based Budget Successful

Picture of a budget and cash for tips to make your zero based budget successful.

It can be difficult to stick to a budget, but there are ways to make it happen.

Here are a few quick budgeting tips:

  • Make a list of your necessary expenses and stick to it.
  • Cut back on unnecessary spending.
  • Live within your means.
  • Find cheaper alternatives to your regular expenses.

In addition, here is what you need to make sure your money is spent where you want and not following the status quo.

You need to learn which payment type is best if you are trying to stick to a budget.

Know your End Goal

What do you want your money to do for you?

Too many times, we let life dictate how and where we want to spend money. Then, we are always chasing from behind.

To truly make your money work for you, decide on three core areas you want to spend your money. Then, make your budget reflect those values.

Understand the Flexibility of Zero Based Budget

Zero-based budgeting is a great way to stay flexible with your finances. There are no set rules to follow, and you can adapt as your life changes. The goal is to always be mindful of your spending and make sure that every penny counts.

Unexpected expenses are going to pop up from time to time, so it’s important to have some flexibility in your budget. That way, you can handle these unexpected costs without breaking the bank.

Put Most Important Expenses at the Top

When creating a zero based budget, it is important to start with the most important items and work your way down.

This ensures that you do not miss any essential expenses and that you are able to stick to your budget. It is also important to be realistic about what you can afford and to make sure that you are flexible in case of unexpected expenses.

Put in a Cushion or a Buffer

When starting a zero based budget, it is important to be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

Some people find it helpful to have a cushion in case of unexpected expenses, while others prefer to keep their spending as low as possible. It is important to find what works best for you and stick to it.

Additionally, remember that your goal should be to live within your means, not spend less than you make.

Look Ahead

When creating or following a zero based budget, it is important to be mindful of any upcoming events that may require more money.

This includes things like holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. If you know these events are coming up, you can plan for them in your budget and make sure you have the funds available.

Check out ideas for bill calendar strategies.

Sinking Funds

Picture of a jar with the various sinking fund categories on it.

One of the most important things to remember is that you need to plan for big-ticket items and one-off events. This can be done using sinking funds.

Sinking funds are special savings accounts that are specifically designated for planned expenses.

You put money into the account over time until you have saved enough to cover the expense. This allows you to avoid breaking your budget when something unexpected comes up.

Learn how to use sinking funds.

zero based budgeting Example

Picture of the zero based budget.

Zero based budgeting is a way of organizing your finances in which you spend money only on things that have an actual impact on your financial situation.

This method can help you stay mindful of how much you are spending and where it is going.

It can also help you to make better decisions about what needs to be paid off, saved for, or invested in.

Here is a basic zero based budget example:

Zero Based Budget template is a zero budgeting plan that helps you break down your expenses into categories. It provides an easy way to create budgets and track the spending in each category over time.

Can You Make a Zero-Based Budget With an Irregular Income?

Picture of a lady creating a budget

Zero-based budgeting is an excellent way to manage your finances when you have an irregular income.

Regardless of how much money you earn each month, you can create a budget that will help you save money and make the most of your income. With a zero-based budget, every penny has a purpose and you can be sure that you are making the most of your resources.

It is also helpful to “age” your money by at least one month. That means your April income will be paying your May bills.

The Best Zero Based Budget Templates and Apps

Zero-based budgeting is a methodology of budgeting that starts with the assumption that how much one has at the beginning of each period should be used to purchase only those things needed. This is different from the traditional budgeting practice of starting with how much one has at the end of the last period and using that as a basis for what needs to happen during the next period.

There are a number of zero-based budget templates and apps that are available on the internet. The following seven are some of the most popular:

1. Tiller Money

Tiller Money is a budgeting app that allows you to create a zero-based budget. This means that every dollar in your budget has a specific purpose.

It has a “Foundation Template” feature that allows expenses to be budgeted against goals in order to make sure the amount of money actually spent is at a minimum.

This allows you to create a zero based budget quickly and easily.

You can try Tiller Money for free for 30 days, and the annual cost is $79.

2. Simplifi by Quicken

Simplifi by Quicken is a budgeting app that takes a different approach to budgeting.

Rather than starting with your current income and expenses and trying to adjust them, Simplifi starts with your savings goals and works backwards. This can be helpful for those who have trouble sticking to a budget because it allows you to focus on your financial dreams rather than your current spending habits.

You can set up your own categories, limits, watchlist, and spending plan.

It offers all of the features of Quicken with the added convenience of being able to access it on your phone or tablet.

Another thing that makes Simplifi stand out is that it is ad-free (unlike Mint), which can be helpful if you are trying to stay focused while budgeting.

Enjoy your first 30 days free and then pay as low as $3.99 per month.

3. Qube Money

Qube is an app that helps you create intentional, smart spending habits.

With Qube, you have the freedom to manage your money with real purpose. Qube helps you stay on top of your finances by giving you a clear picture of where your money is going and how much you have leftover each month.

Qube Money is a budgeting tool that helps you manage your money by automatically ledger transactions and allowing you to divvy up your money into qubes. This makes it easy for you to see how much money you have in each category and click to spend.

Get started with Basic for free with 10 qubes. Upgrade to Premium for $6.50 per month.


You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a popular method of budgeting that requires you to spend money from the previous month’s income. They stress “aging your money” to break the living paycheck to paycheck method.

Each month you start from scratch each month, accounting for all of your income and expenses.

YNAB is best known for its awesome support community and training.

It offers a free trial for 34 days, after which it costs $84 per year.

Best Zero-Based Budget Template For Debt Payoff

It is useful to make a debt payoff plan that starts from the zero level. This will allow you to track your progress and adjust your budget as necessary.

Using Tally is a great tool when paying off debt.

Time for you to Start with the 0 Budgeting Method

A zero based budget is a financial planning strategy where every dollar in the budget is assigned a purpose. This differs from traditional budgeting where the focus is on last month’s spending and last year’s income.

With a zero based budget, you start fresh each month and assign every dollar a job or responsibility. This way, you can ensure that your money is being put to its best use.

When you use a zero based budget template, you are able to track every dollar that you spend.

This comprehensive view gives you a clear idea of where your money is going and where you can cut back on spending. Additionally, using a zero based budget template makes it easy to see if there have been any areas where you could save money.

The best part is you are comfortable knowing that all of your living expenses are accounted for.

This means that you can spend money without worrying about jeopardizing your financial health.

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