8 Budgeting Tips from the Zeta Community

Aditi Shekar
August 5th, 2021 | 6 mins

Community is a big part of life at Zeta. Recently, a handful of Zeta members and staffers got together to chat about the budgeting tips, tricks, and hacks they live by, and the gang—true to form—shared some gems. In no particular order...

Automate your finances

From Jonah M.

Automate/remove as much cognitive financial load as possible. Don’t ever think about paying for (insert random service, like Spotify). Have a goal and an automatic payment set up for it. When thinking about your finances, it should be about bigger picture things and not the repetitive mundane stuff.

Commit to Money Dates

From Eric L.

For couples, partners, spouses, etc. that share finances (partially or fully), make the effort to schedule those “money dates.” Being on the same page and checking in consistently on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis is a game-changer. Make it fun, short, and sweet!

Set a purchase limit

From Aditi S.

I personally like to have a “purchase limit” (or spending number)—it’s a number that neither I nor my partner will spend over without checking in with the other person first. (However, it turns out his number is a lot lower than mine.)

Keep your eye on your Safe/Available to Spend

From Tyler Z.

Automation is key. I find my must-have feature is the “safe/available to spend” feature. That notification I get in the morning with Zeta Joint Cards is a general indicator of our financial health—any significant fluctuation either means a) I haven’t been paying attention to tagging transactions enough or b) something else is wrong (did we overspend on something, did we forget about an expense, or did an unknown expense occur?).

It’s usually (a), and that’s because I’m a huge procrastinator and it’s too stressful for my wife to look at the finances. So seeing that number each morning gives me a good general idea of our financial well-being and occasionally forces me to be an active participant in our budgeting.

Build some buffer into your budgeting

From Kyle S.

I get paid every two weeks, meaning I receive 26 paychecks a year. I divide all my bills in half, and allocate each half to a paycheck. Since I’m only paying each bill 12 times a year, and setting aside money for each of those bills in halves, I’m setting aside bill money 24 times in a year. Resulting in two “extra” paychecks and buffers for each goal, each year.

Put yourself—or pay yourself—first

From Kyle S.

Make sure you know what your goals are—for saving and anything else—and make sure you allocate towards those buckets and ensure you don’t dip into them.

Don’t put yourself in temptation's way

From Brett H.

Don't go to the pet store unless you’re prepared to resist impulse buys. Try and get what you need elsewhere to protect your budget. I regularly go in for just dog food and leave with $100 worth of stuff that's not dog food.

Barter with yourself when you want—but don’t need—something

From Brett H.

If I'm buying something I don't need but want, I try to make it a rule to get rid of something I have and don't need. That helps to eliminate clutter, and also helps you put into context if that new record player you want is really worth getting rid of the Nintendo Switch you don't use anymore. I find I take a pause on those types of purchases if I have to barter with myself.

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