Whatever their reasons, many people don't apply any sort of planning to their personal finances. And just like businesses without plans, individuals also fail financially. That's why you need to create a budget.
For many people talk of budget planning causes boredom-induced comas. Whether you love or hate numbers, this critical task can mean the difference between living comfortably and picking change out of (other people's) couch cushions to buy pizza once a month.
But like any other long-term project, by setting goals and tracking them you actually make budgeting fun. The delayed gratification of watching your savings balloon might greatly offset the pain of cutting silly expenses.
Financial wizard and author Dave Ramsey offers free budget worksheets on his Web site. Suze Orman, another celebrity debt fighter, provides free online tools for determining a range of expenses, from mortgages to interest and much more. Mint.com offers a free online money management tool that lets you track everything from your credit cards, to bank accounts, to investments, all in one place.
Enough with the grown-up lectures about budgeting. On the next page, we'll start diving into the juicy tips that let you get more enjoyment out of your money.