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How to Repay Massive Amounts of Debt With a Zero Sum Budget
TayTalksMoney: Money, Lifestyle and Productivity

How to Repay Massive Amounts of Debt With a Zero Sum Budget


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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2019)
PY OFF DEBT ZERO SUM BUDGEThow to use a zero-sum budget

A few years ago, I was successful at zero sum budgeting for the first time, and it helped me pay off my student loan. I was inspired to pay off my student loan because I wanted to pursue a dream of running my own business full-time.

I had tried budgeting before but was never able to stick to the process. So I tweaked the zero sum budget method to make it work for me. The results were pretty great. It helped me increase my student loan payment by 500%.

Originally, I explained how I created this budget from scratch in this post, but it was looooooong winded. I wasn’t really able to explain the key mindset adjustments you need to make to have success and I wanted to be able to beef it up with spreadsheets sooo….

The 60-Minute Money Plan Was Born

The 60-Minute Money Plan is a 107 page printed workbook for people who hate budgeting. The workbook is based on the zero sum budget strategy.


The workbook is for:

  • Young adults struggling to make ends meet.
  • Anyone who wants a simple yet doable budget plan.
  • People who are looking for a no-fuss way to start tracking their money.

The printed book is available on Amazon. Grab it here!

View Comments (10)
  • For me automating bills out of one checking account works best. It cold be a little better because I need to reallocate spending from allowances. My hubby and I have our own checking account in addition to our household checking so we can each monitor our own spending. I hate having to look over numbers all the tI’m and found that by keeping the numbers consistent each month and coming from one account, it helps us avoid digging ourselves into a hole.

    • Yup, me too! That estimating each month just didn’t work for me. It’s a lot harder now that I have a variable income to do this. But it worked so well when I had the regular bi-weekly paycheck. Tiffany from The Budgetnista shared a percentage budget with me that I’m attempting. Where each time you bring in money you divide it by the budget percentages.

  • Another suggestion for you. I have done this for years after I got myself out of some debt.
    I get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month. I pay my mortgage and HOA on the first of each month. I pay all my other bills on the 15th. I have called each of the vendors I do business with (State Farm, Verizon, Century Link, etc..) and have the due date changed to the 15th. They actually give me a few days grace period, but I pay everything on the 15th. It’s a really stress free way to know what’s coming and what I need to do.
    I also use budget billing for my Xcel (gas & electric) bill. If you have lived in your home for at least a year they will average the monthly bill. Yes, the summer may be a bit higher than the actual bill, but when the winter is really cold, I don’t get smacked with a crazy high bill.

    • Hilary, Hilary, Hilary… THAT IS AN AMAZING IDEA! I hadn’t even thought about calling in to adjust the due dates, but it makes perfect sense. Because it’s tricky to finesse your bills split between pay periods. Before moving to Atlanta all of the places that I rented from up north had utilities included. So, this is the first time I’ve received utilities bills. I wasn’t sure if averaging the bill would be a real savings, but I’m going to look at it closer. Thanks for that tip! P.S. I’m going to add your adjusting dates thought above too bc it’s mega valuable.

  • After a ridiculous year, I’m ready to get back on the “pay off my debt” train. I’ve had mint.com for a few years now and love it, but always am frustrated because I am estimating what I “might” spend, whereas with this zero sum version, I know exactly what I should expect to spend every 2 weeks. Makes perfect sense to me, and seems like a great way to start the new year off right!! Thanks for a great post.

    • Hi Kelsey! Thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚ I agree, I refer to mint.com for a big picture view of all of my accounts in one place. But, from day to day it’s harder to budget your money that way in my opinion.

      If you prefer apps than writing down your budget, LevelMoney and Mvelopes are worth a look. Both kinda follow this same zero sum approach. LevelMoney tells you how much “spendable” money you have after your other expenses which is like the allowance idea above. And with Mvelopes it’s like a virtual envelope budget system which is when you withdraw cash for all budget line items. When you run out of cash, you know you’re tapped out in each budget category for the month.

      Also, Hilary’s comment above is epic about changing your bill due dates so you can allocate your money for each pay period much easier.

      Cheers to budgeting and paying off debt this year!

  • I’ve done this for years, except my zero sum is $660.07. Its the amount I need in my account for the 1st of the month in order to cover all the automatic payments and I track it on a rolling 12 months. Every month money gets “transferred” to things like mortgage, bills, property taxes, credit card payments and savings accounts. The numbers change as needed so that I can always end at $660.07 or more. The goal is that my savings number increases as I keep my credit card amount low for each paycheck. I get paid bi-weekly though so rolling total works much better for me.

    • Just like Hilary’s comment above, this is another GREAT way to approach it.

      The textbook definition of zero-sum budgeting suggests getting ahead by a month which wasn’t feasible me. But, the idea of keeping enough in your account for the automated payments the beginning of the month is very, very smart and doable.

      It’s funny how we have access to tons of innovative tools for budgeting, but just a simple strategy can have longevity.

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