Do You Need a Budget?
Call it what you will — Budget, Spending Plan, Financial Allocation Sheet — knowing how much money you’ve got coming in and going out is very important, not only for your future, but also to your present and for your peace of mind. Going through life without a financial plan of some sort (for ease of readability, I am going to use the term ‘budget’) is like doing a high-wire or trapeze act without a safety net. You can do it, but it’s not generally recommended, and you might get into some serious trouble.
Often, getting the most out of life depends on figuring out how to best allocate and spend your money — to avoid the quagmire of debt, to save for the future, and to make the most of the present.
That’s why I’m here; that’s why I created this website. Because I know that if everyone could figure out even the basics of personal finance and money management, we’d all be much better off. And just because you aren’t scraping to pay your bills each month doesn’t mean you don’t need a budget. Everyone can benefit from setting and sticking to a budget.
Let me say that again: It doesn’t matter what economic class your family is in, or how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive. If you make money, you need a budget. And I’m here to help.
Everyone Needs a Budget
If you think you are an exception to this, let’s do a simple test:
- Do you have money?
- Do you like money?
- Do you want more money?
- Do you have a pulse?
If you answered “Yes” to any or all of the above questions, then you need a budget. ^_^
But don’t freak out. Most people, when they hear the word ‘budget’ think that they’ll have to do a lot of math, or that they won’t be able to have any fun ever again. None of that’s true. Okay, you’ll have to do a little math, but it’ll be easy math, I promise.
What is a budget?
Dictionary.com defines “budget” as: “an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.”
Or, to reword it for our purposes: A budget is an estimate of how much money you’re going to make and how much money you’re going to spend in any given month.
With me so far?
“But why do I need a budget?”
You need a budget because without one you’re likely spending everything you earn (living from paycheck to paycheck) or more than everything you earn (going into debt) without really having a good idea of where it’s all going. You might be saving a little here and there, but “saving a little here and there” does not a retirement fund make, and getting over your head in debt is all kinds of foolish.
You wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, you wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe, and you shouldn’t spend money without a budget.
A budget is a plan for your money, so you know how much you have going out (bills), how much you have coming in (yay, income!), and how much you can save (or spend on fun stuff).
If you’re still unsure about what benefits a budget can have for you, check out my story, Buddy the Budget and the Battle with Due Dates.
Where to Go from Here
Check out my free budget and money management spreadsheets.
What Other People Have to Say About This Site
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