A personal or household budget is an itemized list of expected income and expenses that helps you to plan for how your money will be spent or saved as well as track your actual spending habits. Though the word budget has taken on a more negative connotation over the years invoking an image of pinching pennies or limited spending, a budget is really just a tool_and a great tool at that_to gain better and more accurate insight into your spending habits.
Get Your Budget on Track. You're not going to get ahead financially until you develop a reasonable budget _ one that allows for both some indulgences and for emergencies _ and then stick to that budget. Budgeting your money is the cornerstone of a sound financial plan. You might scoff at the idea of creating a budget _ after all, you pretty much know what you spend every month, especially on big_ticket items like rent/mortgage or car payment.