How to budget

If you need help with your new years’ resolution or want to get back to basics – read our guide on how to make a budget.

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Here’s a helpful template for Excel!

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I also have an excel budget I have evolved over time. I initially set it up to abide by the 50/20/30 rule so will sanitise it and upload a link. Some of the formulas have randomly broken so need to fix them first. :slight_smile:


Monzo alone helps me budget my money each month


Monzo does to a point but I would really like it to advance with sub categories and better align with something like 50/20/30. So just 4 primary categories Need/Savings/Want/General(or exclude) and then sub categories below them. Will give you a clear rolled up view of where your money is going.


For anyone getting into budgeting for the first time, or generally find budgeting something hard to stick to, a principle that has worked much better for me is “Zero Sum” or Envelope Budgeting.

Rather than ‘predicting’ your earning and tracking how you met your spending goals - you give every single £ you have a job - until each pound has been budgeted.

By working only with money you ever have on hand, and not predicting income before you get it, it becomes more of a live, breathing adaptable tool - rather than something you “check in on” every month.

In my old style of budgeting, when I found I had overspent anything, I ‘gave in’ and was kind of done for the month and ignored it until next month, when I’d “try again and be better”. What I hadn’t realised really was that my budget, my spending and my actual true goals were not aligning.

If you find you are constantly missing your goals in your own budget I’d recommend a ‘zero sum’ approach - as it will help focus on what your actual money has to do before you get paid again.

I can post a few example templates if that’s useful.

Edit: Made some bad words better.


Must admit, I feel this blog post is incredibly poorly timed when Monzos own budgeting tools are still so lacklustre and make it impossible for a good portion of members to budget appropriately in what is arguably the best place to hold and plan your budget.

Check out ‘the Dave Ramsey show’ on podcast, YouTube, tune in radio, it’s pretty much everywhere. American based and grounded in religion which I take with a pinch of salt but this guy genuinely changed our lives as a family. We lived in constant debt, never getting our heads above water. As soon as I found his stuff and adopted his methods (zero based budget mentioned earlier) we were on a solid budget and out of our remaining £11,000 debt within 12 months. Now we’re debt free apart from the house and budgeting well every month but I’m still an avid listener of the podcast. Life changing!