Skip To Content

    I'm A Huge Fan Of The Guilt-Free Budget. Here's How It Works

    Free yourself from the mental anguish of daily money decisions.

    When I was a teen, I opened my first checking account. And from an early age, I found serenity in the inherent logic and order in processes (ahem, mega-money nerd here).

    After playing around with all sorts of ways to manage my money, including the ever-popular 50-30-20 budget and zero-sum budget, at the end of the day, I realized that the guilt-free budget was what worked best for me.

    Graphic showing how the 50/30/20 budget breaks into 50% of spending on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on goals

    Here's why the guilt-free budget works so well, how to get started, and ways to make it easy:

    First, using the guilt-free budget cuts back on decision fatigue.

    Plus, this kind of budget helps me prioritize saving.

    Woman looking at her bank app on her phone

    And it puts my money goals on auto-pilot.

    Now that we've gone over why I think the guilt-free budget is pretty amazing, let's dig into how to go about putting the guilt-free budget into action.

    Woman looking at her bills

    There are two ways you can go about the guilt-free budget:

    While the guilt-free budget is pretty simple, you can up the Ease Factor on the guilt-free budget by getting ahead of your bills by one month. In other words, at the end of October, you'll have enough for your living expenses in November.

    If your income is steady-ish or you're able to get ahead by a month, consider automating paying your bills as much as you can. That way, you don't have to painstakingly track when the bills are due and scramble to pay them on time. Ideally, it's all working beautifully in the background.

    If you're able to set up autopay for most of your bills, then the only number you need to really look at is your non-essential spending.

    Man looking at bills in the mail

    While I'm not one for traditional budgeting, I'm not dissing it, either. Depending on your style, preferences, and where you're at in your life, standard budgeting could be more beneficial.

    What are some of your favorite budgeting tips? Tell us all about them in the comments.

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.