Budgeting -- ooh, what a scary word! If you want to frighten someone whose finances are out of control, suggest that they tally up their expenses on a piece of paper. We all understand the value of such an exercise, but when it comes to the practicality of putting a budget together, we get cold feet. Budgeting doesn't have to be so painful, when you have a systematic series of steps to follow.
SET YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS
As with any other area of your life, it's pointless to start down a financial path if you don't you have some idea of where you want to end up. What is your REASON for creating a budget? Do you want to pay off your debts? Save for your kids' college education? Put money away for retirement? Make a list of your financial goals for the next 6 months, year, 5 years, 10, 25 -- all the way through to old age. And don't spend a lot of time worrying about feasibility -- if your goal is to be debt free in a year, don't think about all of the reasons why you won't be able to make it by that deadline. Just remember, where there's a will, there's a way!