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    Why You Should Budget From Zero

    1. C@thesingledollar

      May 26th, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Oh, I really like this idea — I’ll definitely have to keep that in mind. You’re right that we tend to think about cutting back rather than building up from zero income, which is interesting considering that all of us do actually *start* adult life from zero income!

    2. Holly@ClubThrifty

      May 26th, 2015 at 8:13 am

      I think that’s key. It’s more difficult to make sacrifices when you have everything and can easily afford it.

    3. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

      May 26th, 2015 at 10:33 am

      I thought about this in the movie The Good LIe (one of my favorites from last year), and how when the boys arrived here from Africa, they couldn’t believe the “luxury” of something as simple as a phone or ordering pizza. Stuff that seems so mundane to us. It’s hard to find the novelty in every single thing, but if we can TRY to appreciate more, we will want for less.

    4. Mel

      May 26th, 2015 at 11:04 am

      I love this mentality. I think increasing from nothing helps you really double think what you need. For me, I’ve always had a car, it’s my biggest expense, probably coming in between $2-3,000 a year with insurance, registration, repairs and gas and yet the prospect of ever getting rid of it is inconceivable to me… because I look at it from a place of excess. On the flip side, everything about owning a home and furnishing it, etc., I look at as things that just take my money and I’m very cautious in all those areas of life.

    5. pippa

      May 26th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      It is all about perspective! I am dealing with this with one of my kids who think they are entitled and it seems it almost doesn’t even compute for anything to be a bonus or a privilege …. just a right!

    6. Zee Hamdani

      May 26th, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Aah soo soo true. When we have everything then it really is difficult to cut back, but when we are at ground zero then it does become easier. Its like that joke where they say that if you are buying from your parents money then a 100 dollars item seems like a necessity, but when it comes to buying things yourself at times a 2 dollar item seems like a waste.

    7. Brian @DebtDiscipline

      May 26th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      All about frame of mind and perspective. Much easy to start from nothing and build then to have everything and have to cut back.

    8. Melanie @ Dear Debt

      May 26th, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Love this! I think this is why it’s been easier for me to live on less, because I’ve never had much to begin with. Scaling back can be hard for people who are used to a certain lifestyle.

    9. Stefanie

      May 26th, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Likewise. Even though I grew up upper/middle, I never really had money of my own- no allowance and then crap salary for years. Really helped me become accustomed to a bottom up approach.

    10. Shannyn @ Frugal Beautiful

      May 27th, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      I love that last statement about building from nothing with everything as a bonus. It’s so true! Living on $800/month in the city was tough, but it taught me to be grateful for everything I have.

    11. Kali @ XY Planning Network

      May 27th, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Love the analogy here.. you’re exactly right in that people throw tantrums when they’re told to cut discretionary expenses! This post is a great reminder for everyone, including folks who consider themselves pretty frugal. It’s always smart to periodically evaluate your budget and I love the idea of working from nothing up, instead of trying to choose this or that to cling on to.

    12. Natalie @ Financegirl

      May 27th, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      “When you build from a place of nothing, everything is a bonus. When you come from a place of excess, everything is a sacrifice.” –> YES. And I think this has more to do with perception than reality. Lower your expectations and you’re going to be a lot happier.


      May 28th, 2015 at 6:43 am

      I like the concept and agree being grateful for what you already have is a great place to come from. Learning to be content with what you have is necessary. Unfortunately, most over consumed people will find this as difficult as cutting back, because they’re not trained in this thinking. People want cutting back and reeling in their spending to feel good, but that’s impossible – at least in the beginning. That’s why so many don’t do it.

    14. Weekday Highlights and Weekend Reading

      May 29th, 2015 at 6:06 am

      […] Budgeting from Nothing by The Broke and Beautiful Life – great post that came in at the perfect moment. My computer completely, absolutely died when I got back form vacation and I considered going out to buy the latest and greatest when I came across this post and gave it a second thought. Sure my dead laptop ended up making me tens of thousands over its lifetime, but I am so busy at work that I don’t have much time for my side hobbies and blogs so do I really need a replacement right away? Instead I decided to use my wife’s laptop until I save up some money and do a bit more research. What I want will be just another luxury that I can live without for now. […]

    15. Week End Round Up #83 - Debt Discipline

      May 30th, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      […] Budgeting from Nothing @ The Broke and Beautiful Life […]

    16. Hayley @ Disease Called Debt

      May 30th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      This is a really interesting perspective and it’s something that I think my husband and I been doing without really realising. We went from having “excess” in our lifestyles to being forced to cut back because of our debt. We were too mentally exhausted at that point to even have those adult tantrums (although we definitely had them in the past)! Now though, we live almost a back to basics lifestyle, only really paying for the things that we absolutely need. We can afford to live on one income now, although we choose not to – everything I earned gets saved. I guess that’s our way of building up from nothing!

    17. Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and Garden

      May 30th, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      We were always frugal but since we’ve retired we have really started to watch things. It’s been nice to know we can make it on his retirement check and do the things we want by watching what we spend on other things

    18. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank

      May 30th, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      I enjoyed listening to the podcast. “Budgeting from nothing” is really possible if we know we CAN. Thanks Stef.

    19. Matthew

      June 2nd, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      I know exactly what you mean, budget management is a real challenge. Until recently, I used excel but recently I am looking for a appropriate software that will help me in this. Mainly I’m talking about controlling daily expenses.

    20. Chela @SmashOdyssey

      June 6th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Great post! I love the idea of starting at a baseline of 0 and adding value to it rather than what’s “normal” and cutting back. Definitely food for thought.

    21. Ever See an Adult Throw a Tantrum? Tell Them to Cut Back on their Spending! « Mill Street Times

      June 9th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      […] May 26th 2015 – Adults throwing tantrums, well that’s the reaction many adults have when faced with cutting back on their hard earned luxuries. Try reverse engineering the savings concept. Instead of cutting back, build your expenses from the ground up. Here’s how to do it. […]

    22. Is Time for a Spending Cleanse?

      June 14th, 2015 at 8:07 am

      […] Related: Budgeting from Nothing […]

    23. How Grief Has Shattered My Budget

      July 6th, 2015 at 7:30 am

      […] tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” First part – check! Now I need to learn how to budget […]

    24. Erick Brunet

      August 11th, 2015 at 2:01 am

      Thank you for sharing the article. It’s very useful. Hope to hear more from you.

    25. Kurt

      August 17th, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      You and Mr. Money Mustache are so right. Here in the western world, we’re awash in luxury goods and non-necessities while many people on the planet spend their days scavenging food. I wonder how the average North American’s perspective would change if he or she changed places with any one of the billions far less privileged on the planet for a month. While grueling, we might come away better understanding of affluence, saving, and consumption. Thanks for writing!

    26. Michael Mota @ NTPNW

      August 17th, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Great post! If more people learned the word no and learned to say it more often to themselves and their kids life would be much easier and fullfing. Since I learned to say no my life has been much more fullfilling and richer. No more cable tv, no new cars every few years and no more stuff to add to my home. With stuff out of the picture I can now concentrate on what gives me meaning in life- family and friends. Plus we now get to save for our future instead of working like a mad man for stuff.
      Your right it is easier to start from nothing than to give up stuff. But giving up materialistic things even though difficult is well worth it.

    27. Crystal

      August 27th, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I’m not sure if anything in this pertains to the actual title. I pay just the normal bills, electric, gas, water and food. We eat just one meal a day and it is home cooked from food we buy from super savings stores. I don’t have a house note as we paid our home in cash when we purchased it years ago. We don’t have one single credit card, don’t own a smart phone… we have one computer that I have had for over 5 years and the only simple thing we pay for is internet but it is crucial to my job to have internet access at home. We take care of my elderly mother and have been for the last ten years. We have not been out to see a movie in 5 years, have not eaten at a sit down establishment in over 5 years and still people tell us to cut back and we will have savings… Did I mention we don’t use heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer either. Yeah we just can’t afford it. What do you tell those of us who are beyond cut back and did it without as much as a cry let alone a temper tantrum. I am 30 years old and can tell you going without has been extremely implemented in our life for many years. We go to work and come home, we talk and do little things like draw and talk about our future there is not entertainment. We do not even own a tv. I just want those who think they know it all, to take a look at true poverty and see that not everyone can save and sometimes there is NO room to “cut back”. Take the boots experiment, a poor man has 35 dollars to his name and he needs work boots, those boots range from $10 for the pair that will leak in a month to $50 for a pair that has a 10 year guarantee on them. However the man does not have $50 to spend on the more valuable and better quality pair, he buys the $10 boots monthly resulting in a $120 a year expense, but only $50 per 10 years for the man who had enough.

    28. Nicki

      October 16th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      A luxury, once enjoyed, quickly becomes a necessity

    29. How to Live Within Your Means Without Feeling Limited

      March 3rd, 2018 at 10:28 am

      […] One of the most powerful shifts in perception I’ve experienced in my quest for better financial habits is that of building my budget from zero. […]

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