Learn how to start your budget journey to financial freedom today following the steps I took to gain control over my finances.

I knew that I had lost control of my finances in 2009 when I realized that I was broke.

Since then, I have used my skills as a Certified Management Accountant to create a budgeting system for beginners that works.

My proven budgeting system has helped me to pay off $70,000 of debt and save a 12 month emergency fund!

Start Your Budget Journey in 3 Easy Steps

Step One

To start your budget journey you will need to first grab a copy of one of my zero-based budgets.

You can choose from a spreadsheet format or an editable PDF. My editable PDF budgets have the calculations done for you and come pre-filled. This makes it easy for anyone to get started!

Zero-based budgets are the best way to help you save money and pay down more debt.

Need help getting your budget plan started? Grab your Personal Budget Planner Freebie now!

Click on the image to get this freebie!

What is a zero-based budget and why should we use one?

The point of a zero-based budget is to make income minus the outgo equal zero. If you cover all your expenses during the month and have $500 left over, you aren’t done with the budget yet.

You must tell that 500 bucks where to go. If you don’t, you lose the chance to make it work for you in the areas of getting out of debt, saving for an emergency, investing, paying off the house, or growing wealth.

Doing so makes a huge difference. People who do a zero-based budget (versus those who don’t) pay off more debt and save more money! Just from having a plan!

The sooner you make a zero-based budget part of your money-handling strategy, the sooner you’ll start to see your debt go down and your savings go up.

Grab your zero-based budget and start your financial journey.

zero based budget

Step Two

Next you will need to download 3 to 6 months of bank statements. You will use this information so that you can determine how much income you have coming in each month and how many expenses you have going out. Use my budget categories guide to help you with this step.

You will put your estimated budgeted amount of income into your budget each month. Then you will put your budgeted amount of expenses. Budget to zero so that you are making every dollar work for you.

You have just created the forecast portion of your budget! Your goal for the month ahead is to stay within budget. Track your expenses daily if needed. You can also use cash envelopes to make sure you don’t go over budget. Grab a copy of my cash envelope inserts to get started!

Step Three

The final step for creating your budget is to put all of your actual information into your budget at month end.

Print out your bank statement at month end. Categorize your expenses and then put this information into your budget. I download my bank statement at month end and then categorize the expenses in spreadsheet format. This makes it easy to calculate the totals for each category so that I can easily put this information into my budget.

Did you go over budget? Did you come in under budget? Make sure that you adjust the forecast portion of your budget going forward. Do you need to add sinking funds for recurring variable expenses such as propane, clothing, gifts, or hair appointments? Add those categories to your budget!

I created a handy guide on how to use a zero-based budget so that you can have a successful first budget.

Need additional guidance? Use this video below to help you get started!

Your budget is created, now what?

Now that you have created your budget, congrats, you have taken the first step to financial freedom! Once you know where every dollar is going you can improve each month so that you are reaching your debt repayment and savings goals.

The next step in your budgeting journey should be to make a list of all debts and all of your savings goals. I recommend creating an starter emergency fund with 1 to 3 months of expenses. This is crucial so that you can weather any storm that comes your way. Use one of my debt or savings goal trackers to visualize your progress while reaching these goals!

Savings Goal and Debt Repayment Thermometers

Paving Your Path to Financial Freedom

After you have clearly defined your debt and savings goals you can pave your path to financial freedom! My path to financial independence includes paying off all of my debt, having a 12 month emergency fund, and having a savings rate of 50% of our income so that I can retire in ten years or less!

We didn’t get to a 50% savings rate overnight. It took 4 years of hard work and determination. You can read more about my path to financial independence here.

Use your budget to determine where each dollar you earn goes. Making your money work for you is how you can crush your debt and reach all of your financial goals!

Start Your Budget Journey Today

dave ramsey budget

Now that you have the tools you need to budget your way to financial freedom, I know that you will reach all of your financial goals! My budget systems are available in editable PDF format or as spreadsheets. All products come pre-filled with the calculations done for you so that you can get started immediately!

Get started today by visiting my Etsy shop to get all the tools you need!

How to Create a Budget