How to Budget Like a Pro

Set a Budget, Period. This is the starting point for every other goal in your life. Here’s a checklist for building a knockout personal budget.

Consider an All-Cash Diet. If you’re consistently overspending, this will break you out of that rut. Don’t believe us? The cash diet changed the lives of these three people. And when this woman went all cash, she realized that it wasn’t as scary as she thought. Really.

Take a Daily Money Minute. This one comes straight from LearnVest Founder and CEO Alexa von Tobel, who swears by setting aside one minute each day to check on her financial transactions. This 60-second act helps identify problems immediately, keep track of goal progress—and set your spending tone for the rest of the day!

Allocate at Least 20% of Your Income Toward Financial Priorities. By priorities, we mean building up emergency savings, paying off debt, and padding your retirement nest egg. Seem like a big percentage? Here’s why we love this number.

Budget About 30% of Your Income for Lifestyle Spending. This includes movies, restaurants, and happy hours—basically, anything that doesn’t cover basic necessities. By abiding by the 30% rule, you can save and splurge at the same time.