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How To Find The Best Budget For You

Trouble sticking to a budget? You may not be using the best budget. Here's how to find the best budget for our personality type.

Person typing on their laptop with a screen open that says Budget Planning

It’s never too late to start budgeting, but it’s also never too early to begin. There are hundreds of tips and tricks out there when it comes to managing your money and knowing where every dollar is being spent. So you might be wondering “how do I find the best budget for me?”

Whether you’ve tried to budget before and it’s not worked out, or you’re getting started for the first time, we’re here with a few tips for finding a budget that works best for your personality type, along with recommendations for tools and some of the benefits that come with managing your money effectively.

Hidden Benefits of Creating and Sticking with a Budget

One of the best reasons to start a budget is that it gives you the opportunity to reflect on and define the long term financial goals you might have. Budgeting makes you think more closely about how you want your money to work for you, important things you might be saving for, and what financial goals you want to achieve.

It also helps you become more organized month-to-month. Before the next month begins, take the time to work out if you have any irregular expenses on the horizon, like oil changes or birthdays and holidays that you need to buy gifts for. You can also use your budget to look further ahead and start working backwards—planning for Christmas gifts six months ahead of time or before a vacation means you’ll have enough money saved by the time the day arrives.

One important benefit to budgeting is something that few people talk about: the impact on your health. Financial insecurity is a complex and multi-faceted topic, and many things can become financial stressors in your life. While a budget won’t necessarily fix all of those issues, knowing exactly where your money is coming from and going each month can relieve some of the emotional burden and anxiety that money concerns have on your health.

Find the Best Budget for You

The first step to budgeting is understanding that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. It’s called “personal finance” for a reason! While the ultimate destination of achieving lasting wealth and financial freedom is a goal for most people, how everyone gets there will look very different.

The overarching ideas behind budgeting are universal, but it’s your job to find methods that align with your personality and natural tendencies to help you stay consistent and on track. You may need to try a few different approaches until you find one that works for you, but once you do, stick with it and you’ll soon see a big difference in your financial wellbeing.

Budgeting Tools

Every craftsperson knows that they’re only as good as the tools they use. Painting with high-quality brushes will usually yield better results than brushes that you’ve had lying around in a cabinet for years. Treat your budget in the same way and test several options until you land on one that works best for you.


If you spend your life on your phone, a budgeting app will likely be a good choice for you. You won’t need to save receipts until you get home to record them (or stuff them into a bag, never to be seen again!) and you can easily access your budget wherever you are, any time of the day.

Most apps allow you to share information with a partner, which is particularly helpful if you’re budgeting for a household of more than one person. You’ll also be able to pull transactions from your accounts automatically, which is especially helpful if you forget to input anything manually.

Computer Software

Apps aren’t always the right choice for everyone. For those who like to manually manage their budgets on a computer, a simple spreadsheet might be all you need. This is an especially good route to take if you like using formulas and equations to work out future budget projections for savings goals or investments you’re making.

Pen and Paper

You don’t need a high-tech budget to be successful. A traditional approach with a notebook and pen can work just as well and, if you’re a crafty or artistic person, you can even decorate around your budget to make the process less overwhelming and more enjoyable when you’re getting started. 

If you need to save receipts, a coupon organizer is a helpful purchase to keep everything in one place. You can even use this method to mix-and-match more tech-based options, like reconciling your budget with your online banking every day or week.

Budgeting For Your Personality Type

No two individuals are going to use the same budgeting technique. Finding the best budget for you is all about knowing yourself, your personality, and what you naturally align with. Think about both your strengths and weaknesses and how you could benefit from these popular budgeting methods.

50-30-20 Budgeting

If you live for experiences and spontaneous adventures, all while having the financial freedom to explore the world on your own terms, then the 50-30-20 method of budgeting could be for you. 

Using these three categories, you’ll break your budget down based on percentages of your income. 50% is allocated to your basic needs like living costs, utilities, transportation and food. 30% is then for savings and paying off debt. The final 20% is reserved for flexible spending, in whatever categories that are important to you.

Zero-Based Budgeting

If you’re a precise person who likes to know where every penny is all the time, zero-based budgeting can help you stay on track and keep organized.

This method allocates every single dollar of your income to a spending category and has a purpose that aligns with designated priorities and sub-categories. This is one of the best budgeting methods for building long-term wealth through your savings and investments, as you know exactly how much money is allocated for these each month.

Reverse Budgeting

For strong-willed, imaginative and independent people, a firmly-fixed budget can feel too restrictive. Looking at the minutiae of your budget every day or week may feel too overwhelming, which can easily lead to you ignoring your budget completely and overspending.

A reverse budget looks more closely at the big picture and bases your spending around that. The first goal is to pay yourself, where you can make use of features like automatic bill pay to ensure that the essentials are covered and you’re saving something each month with a “set and forget” approach. From there, you can then allocate the rest of your money as flexible or fun money that can be used however you’d like.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

One of the keys to financial success is ensuring you have the best system for your money goals. Having a good checking and savings account that works for your situation means you can take advantage of benefits that come with those programs. 

Things like avoiding overdraft fees, bounced check fees, or out-of-network ATM fees can save you significant amounts over several years, so it’s worth making use of those features through your bank.

At FNBT, we want to support your financial success wherever possible. While we can’t tell you the best way to budget for you, our team can provide guidance on financial services that will help you progress towards the financial goals you’ve set for yourself. Contact us today or visit us in branches throughout Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and the Stateline area to get started.