Sequin Blog


Your Personality Budget Type | 5 Ways to Budget for the Mindful Spender

November 30, 2023

Headshot of Vrinda Gupta

Vrinda Gupta

Sequin CEO & Co-Founder | Women's Finance Expert | Visa Alum

When it comes to budgeting, it can be hard to know where to start. Let alone how to tailor your personal budget type to your individual needs.

But when done right, a budget can be one of the most important foundational tools to achieving your financial goals.

When you know what you’re trying to budget for—paying off debt, building an emergency fund, curbing spending, or saving for a life goal—you can pick a budgeting strategy that will work for your lifestyle and align with your individual goals.

Ready to find your personal budget type? Let’s dig in.

Sequin Tip: No matter your personal budget type, contribute to your emergency fund each month in a high-interest account like Sequin, to make sure it continues to grow for you. Build that monthly contribution into your budget as an essential expense.

The Envelope Budget

The envelope budget has been making waves on TikTok, where they’re fondly referring to this method as “cash stuffing.”

This budget type goes back to basics, by using the practicality of cash for allocated budget categories. The envelope system can help you be more disciplined in your spending by keeping non-essential spending in check.

Okay, let us explain.

Each envelope is assigned an individual spending category and amount of cash for the week. Think—groceries, entertainment, dining out, you name it. Once the cash is gone, that’s all that you can spend in that category.

If there’s cash left over in any category, you can put it towards one of your spending goals—like putting extra cash towards your emergency fund or life goals.

How to Use It: Cash as Queen

  1. Each spending category gets its own labeled envelope.
  2. Decide your budget for each spending category.
  3. At the beginning of each week place the portioned-out cash into each individual envelope.
  4. Any unused cash at the end of the week comes out of the envelope and goes toward your saving or investing goals.

Your Personality Budget Type:

This one is for the Cash Queens out there who are tactical, and like the feeling of cash. This method can help support you on your financial journey if you’re looking to control your spending and develop strong money management habits.

The Zero-Based Budget

With the Zero-Based Budget method, you’re assigning every dollar a job.

In other words, every dollar you earn has a specific place it’s going each month. That could be towards expenses, savings, or paying down debt.

The simple breakdown of the Zero-Based Budget is this:

Income - Expenses - Savings = Zero 

This budget type helps prevent spending that isn’t aligned with your goals by assigning every dollar to a category. Each expense is accounted for, and you ensure you’re making gains each month toward your savings or investing goals.

How to Use It: Assign Every Dollar a Job

  1. Take your total monthly income and subtract all expenses.
  2. Next, subtract the money you’re putting towards savings each month.
  3. The number you’re left with should be zero. All of your income has a home, every dollar has a job.

Your Personality Budget Type:

This one is recommended for Money Mavens who have a consistent monthly income and love a budget that can be tailored to their specific needs.

Say you’ve got a financial goal of putting $300 each month towards retirement and $200 a month toward saving for that vacation to Greece you’ve been dreaming of. With the zero-based budget, these goals are easy to align with your spending.

Monthly income - expenses - $300 for retirement - $200 for the beach in Greece = Zero 

The Cash Flow Budget

Your cash flow is a great marker of how your finances are doing.

Cash Flow = Income - Expenses 

A positive cash flow is the goal. This is when your net income (take home after taxes) remains higher than your expenses each month.

A negative cash flow is when your expenses exceed your net take-home income. And is something you want to avoid.

The key here is to handle any cash flow issues before they get out of hand. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you’re consistently in a positive cash flow. This will help you have enough on hand to account for yearly expenses that don’t recur each month.

How to Use It: Positive Cash Flow

  1. Determine your cash flow for a few months at a time to get a solid sense of not only where your money is going but also a bird’s eye view of your financial reality.
  2. At the end of every month, compare your income to your spending.
  3. Where does your cash flow stand? How is it contributing to your net worth?
  4. Make spending changes where necessary.
    a. If your expenses outweigh your earnings, there’s likely a need to adjust your spending for the next month.
    b. If you have a positive cash flow and took home more money than you spent, allocate those extra funds towards your savings.

Your Personality Budget Type:

While anyone can take advantage of the Cash Flow Budget, it’s especially useful for those of you whose income fluctuates from month to month. This makes it a great option for those out there with flexible incomes. If you’re budgeting as a freelancer, we recommend using your lowest monthly income when projecting your monthly cash flow to be safe.

That means you, Entrepreneur Go-Getters and Creative Freelancers!

The 50/30/20 Budget

This 50/30/20 budget originally came from none other than Senator Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tagi in their book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.

It includes structuring your spending around three categories—needs, wants, and savings.

Their recommended budget breakdown goes like this:

50% for Needs (necessary expenses like rent, groceries, utilities, bills)

30% for Wants (things like shopping, dining out with friends, etc.) 

20% for Savings, Investing, and Paying Off Debt 

One reason we love this method is that you can tailor the 50/30/20 rule to fit your individual circumstances!

Example: If you have significant high-interest debt the 20% marker may not help you allocate enough towards it each month. In cases like this, we recommend prioritizing debt repayment as part of your necessary expenses so you can align your budget with your individual goals.

Sequin has an incredible tool to help you create a debt repayment plan. When you connect your credit cards to Sequin you’ll have the option to choose your preferred debt payoff method and get a clear plan of how much you should allocate monthly towards your budget to reach your goal of becoming debt-free!

How to Use It: Uniquely-You Budget Breakdown

  1. Take your monthly income and calculate 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.
  2. Align your spending with the three categories and their percentages each month.
  3. Adjust for the differences as necessary to best serve your financial goals.

Your Personality Budget Type:

This budget type is less time-intensive (and number-crunchy) than both the Envelope Method and the Zero-Based Budget, which makes it great for people newer to budgeting.

We love it because it doesn’t ask you to meticulously track every single purchase and expense, but gives you an adaptable framework to structure your budget.

Sequin's Aligned Budget®

We understand that the word “budget” can feel restrictive and out of step with your definition of financial freedom. At Sequin, we’re taking a more mindful approach to money—introducing: the Aligned Budget®

Kiss complicated spreadsheets and multiple budgeting apps goodbye, and take matters into our own hands.

Creating an aligned budget is simple. The Aligned Budget® breakdown includes—

Monthly Income: Record your income (for freelancers, the minimum amount you made—to be safe!).

Needs: These are the bare essentials. If you’re in credit card debt, you can add the minimum payment here—though, we recommend paying as much as possible.

Savings: This is for your life goals and best self!

Wants: The leftover is your me-money, self-care, treat yourself budget.

“For years, I feared the word bdget. It felt restrictive and in direct conflict with my personal definition of financial freedom. I’ve now come to realize creating a budget is the exact opposite—it enables me to be intentional with my money and spending, and invest wisely towards my best self.” — Vrinda Gupta CEO & Co-Founder

How to Use It: Aligning With Your Values

  1. Determine your monthly income.
  2. Calculate your total needs amount.
  3. Calculate the amount you want to save. Hot tip: this is generally 20% of your income, but can vary depending on your cost of living. This is for your life goals and best self!
  4. Remember to maintain a buffer in your checking account (we recommend $500-$1000, if possible).
  5. Finally, subtract the amounts of savings (Step 3) and needs (Step 2) from your income (Step 1). The remaining amount is your wants money!

Your Personality Budget Type:

This budget type is for anyone who wants to define financial freedom on their own terms. Your budget doesn’t have to feel restrictive, and absolutely can include self-care and room to treat yourself—especially because budgeting for savings comes before wants, so you remove the risk of running out before you save.

Making Incremental Changes

When it comes to creating your shiny new budget, we recommend using last year’s spending as a guide. While this is a good starting point, don’t be afraid to make incremental adjustments as you go along!

We also recommend planning for a regular review and adjustment of your budget to stay on track with your personal financial planning.

When setting yourself a budget for the first time, it’s important to choose a method that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals—and personality type.

Creating a budget practice requires patience with yourself. You’re building a new habit, that will take time to master. Once you do, you’ll be on pace to reach big financial goals that once felt out of reach! You’ve got this.

Don’t want to DIY? Join the Sequin Women's Finance Club to access our money, credit, wealth programs, and novel banking products like high-interest checking that grow your money!


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