Budgeting Strategy for Everyone

Many different budgeting methods can be used to track your spending and plan how you will use your money, however, some of them work well for some people and some don’t work at all for others, you just have to know which budgeting strategy is right for you based on your financial goals.

Below are some of the most popular traditional budgeting strategies that still work today.

  1. Zero-Based Budgeting

This budgeting approach involves taking your monthly income and deliberately assigning every amount a task to perform. It’s simply a list of expense categories, such as “food,” “utilities” and “rent,” with an allocated amount that you’ll be spending in each category. Ideally, the total of all the expense categories sums up to less than what you earn in a month, giving you some room to save.  The goal is to always have a zero naira/dollar as your income will be fully utilised.

This strategy gives you a grasp on where every of your money is going and makes tracking your spending easy, you’ll have a great understanding of your usual money habits and overspending can be curbed.

Who should try this method?

This method is ideal for those who are detail-oriented, as it forces you to spend time each month creating a detailed spending plan. It helps you make every money count.

  1. 50/30/20 Budget

This strategy suggests that you will take your net income (your take-home pay) and divide it into three categories:

  • 50% to your needs (rent, utilities, debt payments, food)
  • 30% for your wants (entertainment, eating out, and clothing) and 
  • 20% for your savings (saving for retirement, emergencies, and other goals)

Who should try this method?

This type of budget is good for those who are new to budgeting, particularly because it’s one of the simplest budgets to set up and follow. In fact, I like this budgeting style because it offers structure to guide my spending, and gives me the flexibility and freedom to indulge occasionally, so long I still fall within the appropriate expense ranges. And, if I have a major financial goal, this is the strategy, I adjust the percentage so I can quickly accumulate money in the bank for that goal.

  1. Envelope Budgeting

This is a great simple budgeting strategy; all you do with the envelope strategy is simply split your expenses into different expense categories and designate a specific amount of money(cash) that you can spend on each category. Then sort that cash into a series of paper envelopes for various purposes. 

You might have an envelope marked “rent,” another envelope marked “utilities” and a third marked “food.” Then, whenever you need to spend money for a particular purpose, you take money from the appropriate envelope. If there’s not much in that envelope, you must figure out how to adjust.

Although using only cash and carrying around physical envelopes may seem old-school, but it does reduce spending.  Some people use different bank accounts with a debit card as to using envelopes and carrying cash around.

Who should try this method?

Envelope budgeting is often used by individuals who are trying to gain control over their spending habit, watching your pool of available funds dwindle for a month can help you make better decision about how you spend your money.

  1. Pay Yourself First Budgeting

The “pay yourself first” budget method is exactly what it sounds like: Each month, you decide what percentage of your income you want to designate to saving or other financial goals, and you immediately transfer that money out of your account. You can spend the rest of your money however you wish, so long as you meet your obligations.

Who should try this method?

“Pay yourself first” budgeting can work for those who have struggled to save enough in the past, as well as those who are particularly determined to achieve their financial goals.


The most important thing is to identify which of these strategies will help you create your own budget and give you clarity on how to reach your goals.

You must be in complete control of your money now, to attain true financial freedom.