RateState put together a free “zero based budget” excel sheet which you can use to get a handle on your personal finances. The idea behind it is that every single dollar you earn will get allocated to a specific category. There is no money sloshing around, you have total mastery over all of your money.
The template comes with a lot of categories set up, so plug in your numbers and create or delete slots as necessary.If you have a positive difference after taking care of expenses, allocate to paying down debts or to savings or to an investment. If you have a negative difference, then you need to reduce non-essential items.
The key is to have no money left over at the end, to know where every single penny is going, even if it’s going towards CDs or bubble gum.
Download Zero Based Budget (XLS)
Free Budgeting Tool [RateState]