Budgeting 101

Hey FOLA Fam,

Welcome to FOLA Financial Literacy Month!

To kick off financial literacy month, we wanted to talk about one of the most important concepts in the personal finance community, budgeting. When it comes to budgeting, like most things, there isn’t a one size fits all technique. Personal finance is exactly what it says it is, personal. Therefore, it is important for those embarking on a personal finance journey to find the budgeting method that works best for them. In the personal finance community, there are four main budgeting techniques used by most people within the community: envelope system, 50/30/20, zero-based, and pay-yourself-first.

Envelope System

The envelope system of budgeting is a form of budgeting that focuses on the use of cash. You set up envelopes for each of your spending categories. For example, you would have a different envelope for groceries, gas, rent, utilities, etc. In each envelope, you would have the amount of cash you have budgeted for the respective category. Once the cash in the envelope is gone, you have no more to spend for that category until your next pay period or the next month, whichever you prefer. Most people in the finance community use the envelope system for categories they tend to overspend in, such as entertainment.


50/30/20 is the budgeting technique that states you should allocate 50% of your income to your needs, 30% to saving/investing, and 20% to wants. However, those in the personal finance community who use this technique of budgeting adjust the percentage categories to fit their lifestyle. For example, instead of using 50/30/20, you might decide to allocate 70% of your income to your needs, 20% to saving/investing, and 10% to your wants.


When using zero-based budgeting, you give all of your income for the pay period or month a job.\Whatever amount of income you receive will be allocated to something to the point where when you are done budgeting, there is nothing leftover. This is a great budgeting technique for beginners who start their personal finance journey not knowing where their money goes. With this technique, you will know where every dollar you make is going.


The pay-yourself-first budgeting technique’s main purpose is for you to allocate money to your savings, debt, or investing before you start paying your bills for the month. Once you pay yourself first and pay your bills for that period, the rest of your income can be used for whatever you want. Along with zero-based budgeting, this technique is one that is widely used by beginners within the personal finance community.

Start your April off with a bang by taking the FOLA pledge and joining us for FOLA Financial Literacy Month! To begin your personal finance journey, explore each of these budgeting techniques and find the one that works best for you and that will propel you into financial health.