1: Calculate Your Income
Calculate your total income from all sources (See Helpful Hint #1 & #2)
Income Source #1
Income Source #2
Income Source #3
Income Source #4
Total Income
2. Calculate your xed expenses
These are items where the amounts typically remain the same
and aren’t easily changed
Property Taxes/Rental Insurance
Vehicle Insurance
Child Care Expenses
Total Fixed Expenses
3. Budget Your Variable Expenses Based on Your Priorities
Depending on what you identify as your nancial priorities, you may
choose to complete that section rst to ensure it is top priority:
a. Do you want to pay off debt quickly? (Helpful Hint #3)
Vehicle Loan Payment
Credit Card Payment
Personal Loan Payment
Total Debt Payments
b. Are you looking to increase your savings? (Helpful Hint #4)
Emergency Fund Contribution
Retirement Contribution
Vacation Contribution
Total Contribution to Savings
c. Are you trying to determine your budget for variable expenses?
(Helpful Hint #5 & #6)
Phone & Internet
Groceries & Food
Total Variable Expenses
4. Calculate the difference
Total Income
Fixed Expenses
Debt Repayment
Saving Contributions
Variable Expenses
Total Expenses
Balance (total income - total expenses)
If your balance is negative- revisit to your priorities in Step 3 and see
where you can decrease your expenses. If not, is there any way to increase
your income?
If your balance is positive- return to your priorities in Step 3 and allocate.
This means you may be able to repay a loan even quicker or bump up your
retirement savings!
5. Zero Balance
Congratulations! When you reach a zero balance all your earnings are
accounted for. Knowing exactly where your hard earned money is going will
allow you to make even better nancial choices!
6. Monitor & Adjust (see helpful hint #7)
Make sure to continually monitor your budget to ensure it is working for
you and adjust as required.
Zero Based Budget Template
Helpful Hints
#1 Make sure you use the same timeframe throughout the spreadsheet. Is it
easier to make a bi-weekly budget because that’s how often you get paid?
If so, make sure to calculate the bi-weekly equivalent for expenses that are
paid monthly or for a different period of time.
#2 Budgeting when you have irregular income is a little more difcult but
even more important. Consider using the lowest amount of income you
usually make, so you budget to spend no more than your income during
your lowest-earning months. That means in months you earn more, you’ll
have extra money to spend on fun things, put in your savings or use to pay
off debt.
#3 There are many different approaches to paying off debt. You can choose to
tackle the highest interest rate loan rst, ensuring that you pay the minimum
amount of interest possible or you may choose to tackle the smallest loan
rst-gaining momentum and condence to tackle the larger ones. Do what
works best for you!
#4 Consider opening a separate savings account for each savings goal. Having
a separate place to collect funds towards your goal will keep that money
separate from your day to day spending and give you a sense of
accomplishment as you see your savings grow!
#5 If debt repayment and building your savings are important to you, consider
budgeting for those priorities rst and then skipping to Step 4 to determine
what remains for the variable expenses. However, a budget is only useful if
it’s realistic so it’s important to budget for leisure activities too!
#6 Take a look at bank statements and/or receipts (if you mostly use cash) for the
past 3 months to determine how much you usually spend for each expense
#7 Your nancial institution is here to help you- reach out if you need assistance
or nancial advice!