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Zero-Based Budget Template – 7 Cute & Free Printables (+ Tips)

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Want to master your budget easily? A zero-based budget template might be just what you need!

Zero-Based Budget Templates | SaturdayGift
Pretty & Practical Zero-Based Budget Templates

Creating and following a budget is the key to financial health and managing your finances. It helps you track your income and expenses, ensuring you are not overspending and can save money for the future.

Zero-based budgeting is an excellent tool because it requires you to account for every dollar of your income and allocate it to a specific purpose. And using a zero-based budget template can make this process even easier.

Psst! You can combine these designs with the other cute & free finance planners and trackers to create a money management binder.

Disclaimer: The content provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Consult a financial professional for personalized guidance on budgeting and managing your finances. 

7 Zero-based budget Templates

Here are 7 pretty & practical free printable zero-based budget templates:

All free printables ©SaturdayGift Ltd. For personal use only, not to be copied, distributed, altered, or sold.

Paper size: US letter, but resizable (to A4 page size and other sizes)

Zero-based budget worksheet

Zero-Based Budget Planner Template - Free Printable in Pastel Colors | SaturdayGift
Zero-Based Budget Planner Template – Free Printable

DOWNLOAD: Zero-Based Budget Planner Template – Free Printable

Zero budget printable

Zero-Based Budgeting Template | - Free Printable Black & White | SaturdayGift
Zero-Based Budgeting Template – Black & White

DOWNLOAD: Zero-Based Budgeting Template – Black & White

Cute Zero BUdget Planner

Zero-Based Budget Template - Cute & Free Budget Printable | SaturdayGift
Cute Zero-Based Budget Template

DOWNLOAD: Cute Zero-Based Budget Template

Zero-based budget planner

Zero Budget Template - Printable Planner PDF | SaturdayGift
Zero Budget Template – Printable Planner PDF

DOWNLOAD: Zero Budget Template – Printable Planner PDF

0-based budget template

0 Based Budget Template PDF - Printable | SaturdayGift
0 Based Budget Template PDF – Printable

DOWNLOAD: 0 Based Budget Template PDF – Printable

Blank zero-based budget planner

Blank Zero-Based Budget Template Printable | SaturdayGift
Blank Zero-Based Budget Template Printable

DOWNLOAD: Blank Zero-Based Budget Template Printable (Pastel Colors)

Blank zero-based budget Template

Blank Zero-Based Budgeting Template Printable - Black & White | SaturdayGift
Blank Zero-Based Budgeting Template Printable – Black & White

DOWNLOAD: Blank Zero-Based Budgeting Template Printable (Black & White)

How to Use the Zero-Based Budget Template – 5 steps

Here’s the step-by-step guide to filling out the zero-based budget templates.

Tip: You can use the zero-based budget calculator to test how much to allocate to each category.

1. Write down your income

Start by listing your monthly net income at the top of the template.

If you use gross income, add a place in your budget to taxes and other deductions.

RELATED POST: Income Tracker Printable – 19 Cute & Free Printable Templates

2. Choose the expense categories.

Next, create categories that cover your expenses, savings goals, and debt repayment plans. 

Some common budget categories include: 

  • Housing (such as rent or mortgage payments)
  • Utilities (electricity, water, gas)
  • Other bills (f.ex. phone, subscriptions)
  • Transportation (car payments, gas, insurance, public transportation)
  • Insurance
  • Groceries/Household items
  • Dining out/Takeout
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Miscellaneous (personal care, gifts, etc.)
  • Giving (donations or charitable contributions)
  • Credit Card Payment
  • Debt Payment
  • Investments
  • Savings (f.ex. emergency fund, retirement funds – add the total amount of all your different savings categories)
  • Sinking funds (money you set aside monthly for irregular expenses such as car repairs or vacations)
  • Buffer (unexpected expenses)

Psst… The categories are already included in the templates found in this post, so all you have to do is fill in the numbers.

3. Assign amounts to each category.

Assign a specific dollar amount to each category, including your expenses, debt payments, and financial goals for the month.

4. Income-expenses=zero

Your income minus your expenses should equal zero.

  • If you have money left over, assign it to a savings goal or add it to your buffer category. 
  • If your expenses exceed your income, look for ways to cut costs or find ways to make more money.  

RELATED PAGE: Zero-Based Budget Calculator

5. Follow your budget

As you spend money throughout the month, track your expenses and subtract them from the allocated amount in each category.

Zero Based Budgeting Templates | SaturdayGift

What is zero-based budgeting?

In a zero-based budget, the total income earned for a given period—such as a month—is allocated to various categories, including expenses, savings, investments, and debt repayment. 

It starts from a “zero base,” with no pre-existing balances carried forward from the previous period. 

Each dollar is assigned a specific purpose, whether it’s 

  • paying bills
  • funding savings accounts
  • paying off debt
  • or covering discretionary expenses. 

By giving every dollar a job, zero-based budgeting helps individuals gain better control over their finances, reduce unnecessary spending, and prioritize their financial goals effectively.

RELATED POST: Zero-Based Budgeting 101 – Guide, Categories + Examples

How do you create a zero-based budget? 

Here’s how you create and follow through a zero-based budget:

1. Calculate Your Monthly Income

Start by determining your total monthly income. Include all sources of revenue, such as salaries, wages, freelance earnings, and any other income you receive regularly.

RELATED PAGE: Zero-Based Budget Calculator

2. Identify Your Fixed Expenses

List all your fixed expenses – recurring costs that remain relatively constant each month. Fixed expenses typically include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance premiums, loan payments, and subscription services.

RELATED POST: Bill Organizer Template – 39 Cute & Free Printable Bill Trackers

3. Account for Variable Expenses

Next, account for your variable expenses, which may fluctuate monthly. These include f.ex groceries, transportation, dining out, entertainment, and personal care items. Estimate your spending in each category based on past experience, or use averages.

4. Allocate Every Dollar

Assign a specific purpose to every dollar of your income. Start by subtracting your fixed expenses from your total income, then allocate the remaining funds to cover your variable expenses, savings goals, debt payments, and any discretionary spending categories.

5. Prioritize Your Financial Goals

Determine your financial priorities and allocate funds accordingly. Whether building an emergency fund, paying off debt, saving for a big purchase, or investing for the future, make sure to allocate sufficient funds to support your goals.

6. Adjust as Needed

Review your budget regularly and make adjustments as necessary. If you overspend in one category, reallocate funds from another category to cover the shortfall. Flexibility is key to successfully implementing a zero-based budget.

7. Track Your Spending

Track your monthly expenses to ensure you’re staying within your budgeted amounts. Use a budgeting app, spreadsheet, or pen and paper to record your transactions and monitor your progress toward your financial goals. 

RELATED POST: Expense Tracker Printable – 26 cute & Free Spending Logs

8. Stay Disciplined

Stick to your budget and resist the temptation to overspend. Remember that every dollar has a purpose, and deviating from your budget could derail your financial plans. Practice discipline and make conscious spending decisions to stay on track.

9. Celebrate Your Wins

Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements along the way. Whether you reach a savings milestone, pay off a debt, or stick to your budget for an entire month, take pride in your progress and use it as motivation to continue pursuing your financial goals.

Tips for using the zero-based budget templates effectively

  • Be realistic about your actual income and expenses when creating categories and allocating money. Check out your previous budgets and bank statements to get an accurate picture.
  • Prioritize your financial goals and allocate funds accordingly. For example, if paying off debt is a top priority, allocate more money towards that category.
  • Leave some room for unexpected expenses or overspending in specific categories. In the printable, there’s a row called “buffer.” This category can help cover any unforeseen costs that may come up during the month.
  • Regularly review and update your zero-based budget to reflect any changes in your income or expenses.
  • Use the template to identify areas where you may be overspending and find ways to cut back.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you exceed the budget in a specific category. Adjust and learn from it for the next month’s budget.

RELATED PAGE: Zero-Based Budget Calculator

Zero-Based Budget Planners | SaturdayGift

Benefits of using a zero-based budget?

With zero-based budgeting, you assign every dollar you earn to a specific spending category or savings goal. It’s like giving each dollar a job to do, which helps you take control of your finances in a whole new way.

Here are five reasons why I think zero-based budgeting is fantastic:

1. Maximizes Financial Control

It’s like having a roadmap for our money. You get to decide exactly where it goes, which means you’re in charge of your financial destiny.

2. Promotes Conscious Spending

This method helps you easily see where your money goes. It’s all about spending intentionally and making choices that align with your priorities.

3. Eliminates Wasteful Spending

No more wondering where all your money went at the end of the month. With zero-based budgeting, every dollar has a purpose, and you can say goodbye to unnecessary expenses.

4. Facilitates Goal Achievement

Do you have financial goals like saving for vacation or paying off debt? Zero-based budgeting can help you get there faster. Allocate money first on your financial goal and then adjust other budgets accordingly.

5. Reduces Financial Stress

Knowing exactly where your money is going and having a clear plan to follow gives you peace of mind. 

Other Budgeting Methods

While zero-based budgeting works well, you might prefer something else. 

Here are some alternative budgeting methods to consider:

50/30/20 budget

With the 50/30/20 method, you allocate 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings.

RELATED POST: 50/30/20 Rule – A Simple Budgeting Method + Examples

RELATED POST: 50/30/20 Budget Template – 5 Cute (&Free!) Budgeting Planners

RELATED PAGE: Free 50/30/20 Budget Calculator

Cash envelope system

With the envelope system, you divide cash into physical envelopes labeled with different categories. Once an envelope is empty, spending in that category must stop.

Cashless envelope system

The cashless envelope system is similar to the envelope system but uses “virtual envelopes” and tracks expenses with a budgeting app or printable templates.

Pay Yourself First

This method first allocates a portion of income to savings or investments before paying any bills or expenses.

Traditional budgeting

This method involves creating a budget based on past spending patterns and adjusting as needed.

RELATED POST: 37 Budget Planners & Trackers – Cute & Free Printables

Whichever budgeting method you choose, the key is to find what works best for your financial situation and stick with it consistently. 

In conclusion

Budgeting is an essential tool for financial success. 

With a zero-based budget, you can take control of your money and make conscious spending decisions that align with your goals and priorities. 

Remember to be flexible, track your expenses, and celebrate your progress!

Cute Zero-Based Budget Templates - Free Printables | SaturdayGift
Cute Zero-Based Budget Templates – Free Printables

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