Use a Zero-Sum Budget to Spend Money More Effectively
Most of us have a category in our budgets that's devoted to generic spending money. It might go to impulse buys, eating out, or indulgences. As finance blog Get Rich Slowly suggests, though, your monthly budget should have all money allocated and accounted for.
The idea is simple: if you make sure that you put every dollar to good use before you get paid, you'll be less likely to spend it on money drains. If you have excess in your budget after bills, put it towards debts or savings. If you feel the need to save up for something expensive, give it its own category in the budget. Leave no dollar unspent:
In my opinion, a zero-sum budget is superior because it forces you to “spend” every dollar that you make. And, no, I don’t mean you should spend it on dinner at Outback or a weekly mani/pedi. Instead, you allocate all of your earnings into the different categories that your finances require.
Obviously unplanned expenses will always come up (which is why an emergency fund should be one of those allocated categories), but this approach allows you to be much more intentional about your spending.