ZERO BASED BUDGET: Meaning, Examples, Apps, Merit & Demerit

Zero based budget
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One of the benefits of a zero-based budget is that it lowers and reduces costs by keeping both the new and the old costs in check. In this article, we shall look at the zero-based budget, the examples, the App, Dave Ramsey’s zero-based budget, as well as the advantages & disadvantages. 

Zero Based Budget

A zero-based budget refers to the process of budgeting in which every cost must be well justified for every new period. Basically, it is used as a technique by every organization or company and by individuals and families.

What’s a Zero-based Budget and why is it Important?

A zero-based budget which became very rampant in the 70s was invented by Mr. Peter Pyhrr and deals with the allocation of your money to different categories. This type of budgeting became more popular when individuals realized they needed a way to allocate their money. In addition, it is the process of assigning each dollar of your total income for a specific purpose.

Why Should You Choose a Zero-Based Budget?

There are examples of the benefits one gets using a zero-based budget and there are:  

It doesn’t only work for companies, it also works for every individual. 

  • It helps you to think ahead about what you want to spend your money on.
  • Help you utilize your budgets and curtail your extravagant spending. 
  • It is also one of the great ways to tackle where your money going at a time.

Ways to Create a Zero-Based Budget

  • First and foremost, you must access your total income to know the total amount of what you are working with. The total amount you have must appear at the top of your budgeting sheet. It will help you write down every cost on your phone or whatever you are using to stay organized.
  • Access and list every cost you make per time. This will enable you to see every spending you need to earmark your money for. 
  •  Make a proper estimate of your previous spending.
  • You must make sure to monitor your money and track every budget on a monthly basis. Analyzing and evaluating your budgets on a monthly basis helps you to reflect on your spending habits and push you to small improvements.
  • Keep your budget very simple and flexible.
  • One of the aims is to have zero dollars left over, this means you have to know where to put each dollar you make. In essence, you must carefully disburse your income.
  • Make use of the best formats
  • Make sure to evaluate your budgets regularly

Why is a Zero-Based Budget Better?

It is better to use because it is an approach and technique that ensures that managers justify every operating expense made and put into consideration which areas the company is generating income. The zero-based budget approach is better than most approaches which is why it makes it better and easy to use.

Benefits of zero-based budgeting

  • Reduces expenses by keeping both the new and old expenses in check.
  • Provides staff with the best idea of project financial and production expenses.
  • Builds cost management.
  • Drives and teach you how to spend less.

Zero-Based Budget Examples

Here are examples of a zero-based budget you can make good use of when you decide to create yours. There are:

$3,000 (which includes both your savings interest and two paychecks)


  • Gas: $80
  • Rent: $900 
  • Utilities: $200
  • Groceries: $400
  • Health insurance: $100
  • Internet and phone:$80
  • Pet care: $100

Dept repayments

  • Payments for a credit card: $50
  • Loans: $200


  • Clothes: $50
  • Subscription: $50
  • Food: $100
  • Entertainment: $100


  • Vacation: $50 
  • Fund for an emergency: $150
  • Retirement funds: $300

Amount left: $0

Zero-Based Budget App

Zero-based budget App helps you to have connections with your financial accounts, categorize every cost you make and also help you to track every spending you make. Here is the list or examples of the zero-based budget app that so many individuals and organizations have tested and have been using.

The Best Zero-based Budget App

  • Honeydue: For budgeting with a partner
  • Fudget: For budgeting without syncing financial accounts
  • EveryDollar: for simple zero-based budgeting
  • Goodbudget: For hands-on envelope budgeting
  • YNAB: For hands-on zero-based budgeting
  • PocketGuard: For a simplified budgeting snapshot
  • Mint: For everything

How to Identify the Best Zero-based Budget App

  • To identify the best zero-based budget app, plan ahead for financial decisions.
  • Access the app via both your desktop and your mobile app.
  • Track past transactions.
  • Track every bill and receive alerts for upcoming dates.
  • Always share financial information with partners.
  • Sync every other financial account and opt-out at the appropriate time.

Dave Ramsey’s Zero-Based Budget

A zero-based budget helps you keep a good record and account for every penny that comes and goes out of your hands. The goal of Dave Ramsey’s zero-based budget is to manage your money better. The zero-based budget method was made popular by Dave Ramsey. This method demand that you “give every dollar a name,” as Dave would always say.

How The Dave Ramsey’s Zero-Based Budget Works

In each month, your expenses should equal your income. This means that:


A budget is a financial statement that shows the expenses and the money you are going to spend. A financial budget puts you in full control of every dollar you spend. Dave Ramsey recommends that before the month begins and ends, you should direct your dollar where it should go using a zero-based budget. This means that income minus your spending equals zero.

Guidelines to Dave Ramsey’s Zero-Based Budget 

  • Carefully write down your total income. These include both your social security, freelance pay, full-time jobs, and your second jobs.
  • Measure and properly list the expenses you literally make at every given time. Every dollar you spend should be well accounted for.
  • Once you create your budget, do well to track every spending you make.
  • Remove the amount of expenses you make from your total income to equal zero.

Whether you want to track and create your budget on paper or online, here are the two tools on the dave ramsey budgeting forms you need to get started.

  • Envelopes systems: It is a great solution for those who want to curb spending in some key budget areas such as restaurants, groceries, and shopping.
  • EveryDollar budget: Helps to track spending in minutes from your mobile phone and with the computer. With this Dave Ramsey’s free budget app, you don’t need a spreadsheet or a calculator because it takes care of every math required.

What is the Primary Objective of the Zero-Based Budgeting?

It is used by every firm to reduce spending rates and increase their savings level is literally about promoting and building a culture of cost management with profitability. It allows your firm to put into consideration the highest priorities as opposed to what has been done historically. One of the primary goals of zero-based budgeting is to promote fiscal duties and lower costs.

Additionally, it can be applied to any kind of cost: cost for goods bought and sold, operating cost, capital costs, research cost, and development costs. The zero-based budgeting can be quite challenging to execute but helps every organization prevent the misallocation of resources that occurs when a budget grows over time.

What are the Four Characteristics of Zero-Based Budgeting?

  • All the levels of the firm join in the process of planning and decision-making.
  • The corporate objectives are always aligned with the individual’s unit objectives.
  • Makes instant adjustments in the budgets if required.
  • Give full attention to both how much a unit will incur and why it is incurred.

Stages of Zero-Based Budgeting

In other to understand fully the following stages of zero-based budgeting, you need to also understand what the decision package is all about. Decision packages are the development of an operational plan on which decision-making is made. Here are the stages of zero-based budgeting:

  • Description of identification of decision making.
  • Analyze and evaluation of decision packages.
  • Prioritization of the decision packages.
  • Allocation of resources.

The Best Practises for a Zero-Based Budget

  • Select the best and the right planning platforms.
  • Adopt a very good strategic approach to your budget.
  • Accept and embrace connected planning.

Zero-Based Budget Advantages and Disadvantages

The zero-based budget advantages & disadvantages can also be called the merit and the demerit. Understanding its advantages and disadvantages gives you a better insight into what a zero-based budget entails. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of zero-based budgeting. These are:


  • Reduces costs.
  • Makes budgeting flexible and more efficient.
  • Help every manager of an organization justify all the operating expenses of the organization.
  • Provide managers with knowledge of the areas and levels of the organization that is generating income.
  • Keep the legacy expenses of the company in check.
  • Also, a zero-based budget encourages everyone to make use of their monthly income for a specific purpose.
  • Create a platform through which you can customize the budget that fits your specific needs and wants.
  • Keeps you well aware of your cash flows.
  • Looks deep into why you are spending much and the things you are spending on.
  • Provide places for improvement each month.
  • In essence, it finds inefficiencies in your financial systems by helping you to eliminate anything that is not useful to your overall monetary health.
  • Helps to detect inflated budgets.
  • Identify opportunities for outsourcing. In addition, it pays attention to cost savings opportunities from so many variety of perspectives.
  • It enables you to be in authority over your budgets.


  • One of the disadvantages of a zero-based budget is that it rewards thinking in the short term by directing resources toward the levels of the organization that will generate income in the next budgeting period.
  • Zero-based budgeting is quite resource-intensive.
  • In addition, it is easily manipulated by savvy managers. It serves as a way through which managers get more resources into their departments or hands.
  • Managing a zero-based budget takes a whole lot of time.
  • The zero-based budget is difficult for individuals who don’t know the amount of income they earn in a month.
  • Also, it can be so detrimental to your long-term financial goals.
  • It is rigid.
  • It requires and demands financial skills to execute.

Why Would You Use a Zero-Based Budget?

  • Lowers and reduces the cost.
  • It is the best business and organizational strategic plan to use.
  • It is flexible for every type of budgeting.
  • Reduces misallocation of one’s resources.

When Would You Use a Zero-Based Budget?

You can either mix up your expenses or repeat your expense categories and amounts every month. In addition, it is used at the beginning of the month to keep a record and track every spending you make. However, it helps you to use every penny of your monthly revenue and allocates them to the right place.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the zero-based budget App helps you to have connections with your financial accounts, categorize every cost you make and also help you to track every spending you make. Before you execute a zero-based budget for the first time, you must take a few steps to ensure that you are taking the best and most realistic approach to your spending. This starts with knowing your income and tracking your expense. Finally, categorize your expenses and everything about your income. However, this piece was able to explore everything about the zero-based budget, the examples, the app, advantages & disadvantages, and the Dave Ramsey zero-based budget.

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