Sticking to a budget is often more a matter of habit than willpower. Here’s how the zero-based budgeting strategy could help you restructure your approach to money management.
If you have, or if someone you know has, served in the armed forces or been through a structure that involved rigorous training, then you’re probably aware of how it can forever alter many core habits, from physical posture to maintaining living spaces. When we are given an inflexible routine to follow for months or even years, we tend to stick to that routine for the long-term unless we consciously choose to break it. Unfortunately for most of us, such routines do not necessarily involve smart budgeting.
All too often, we who struggle to save money view budgeting as a matter of spending less here and there, without fundamentally changing our views on finance. Naturally, this can lead us to slip back into old habits. Incremental changes may work for some, but many of us need to restructure our tactics if we want to take control of our monetary goals. If you need an especially firm kick in the pants to adopt and maintain a budget, the zero-based budgeting strategy may be your best option.
What is the zero-based budgeting strategy?
This is a hard-core budgeting process; although it’s highly effective, it requires a fastidious approach. Zero-based budgeting – or ZBB for people in-the-know – is a concept commonly used by organizations, but has been increasingly adopted by individuals. It involves constant expense justification and spending all monthly income, rather than an allotment for expenses as anticipated. For example, if you earn $5,000 this month, then you use the entire balance on your bills, necessities, savings, financial objectives, etc.
Of course, this only works if you’re smart about spending – getting your balance down to zero doesn’t justify buying a yacht if you have outstanding debts. The goal is ensuring all income is used to bulk up long-term savings and emergency funding while decreasing debt. This system is particularly good for people whose incomes fluctuate significantly. So, if you earn $8,000 one month and $3,500 the next, your flush month – where you might have put in a large amount in an emergency fund or paid off an entire credit card balance – will help you during your lean month. Zero-based budgeting is especially effective when used in conjunction with active debt consolidation solutions, and eliminating your high-interest credit card debt.
Keeping a vigilant eye on your finances and following a specific procedure can encourage you to adhere to your objectives for the long-term. If you struggle to manage your personal debts and save money, adopting a zero-based budgeting strategy, along with low-fee and high-rewards credit cards from providers like Brim Financial, will help you ensure a secure financial future.