We all know that we should create a budget and stick to it. But how can you accomplish this? Here’s one system that we like.

Step 1: allocate all your money

This technique is called the zero based budget. This means you will allocate all your money to different categories. Ideally, there’s no category for ‘miscellaneous’ expenses. It forces you to really think about how much you can spend.

Also, if you use categories it’s easier to stay on track than with a general budget, as you can see exactly in which category you’re spending too much.

Need an automatic budgeting app? Join our waiting list to get the free Neat app.


For example, if you make HK$20,000 (after taxes) your budget could look like this.

Rent – HK$6,000
Savings & emergency fund – HK$4,000
Groceries (food & non-food) – HK$2,000
Restaurant meals – HK$2,000
Entertainment & social – HK$2,000
Utilities – HK$1,000
Insurance – HK$1,000
Transport – HK$1,000
Subscriptions – HK$500
Shopping & personal care – HK$500

Step 2: divide the budget by week

For all of your non-fixed costs, such as groceries or entertainment,  divide your monthly budget into weeks. This will make it very clear to you how much you can spend on what, each week.


Step 3: never ‘borrow’ money from the next week

What most people would do if their groceries budget is HK$500 a week and they exceed it, is to ‘borrow’ it from the next week. But doing this will likely make you fail to stay within your budget as you run out of money by the end of the month.

Instead, you will need to ‘borrow’ from another category. So if you have HK$750 allocated for ‘entertainment’ you might need to skip movie night that week. It’s tough, but this will make it much more likely that you will be successful and make your reach your goals!

Step 4: don’t take extra money to the next week

Hooray! you have some extra money left at the end of the week. Don’t fall into the trap of splurging or allocating it to the next week. Rather, put it on a savings account immediately so you can save for the things you really want. Like a  vacation or living on your own.

This video explains this system very well (and with the Neat app there will be no more need to write everything down and keep receipts :))


Need an automatic budgeting app? Join our waiting list to get the free Neat app.


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