1. Introduction
  2. What Is Budgeting?
  3. Setting Up a Budget
  4. Budget Boot Camp
  5. Budgeting Tips
  6. Establishing Budget Goals
  7. Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid
  8. Maintaining Your Budget
  9. 10 Things to Remember About Budgeting

What is budgeting? Basically, it's making sure that you're spending less than you're bringing in and planning for both the short- and long-term.

Unfortunately, many people think of budgeting as depriving themselves and they avoid it like they do a diet. However, just as a diet is really just a program for eating, budgeting is just a program for spending. If you are hitting a mental roadblock when you hear the word "budget," just call it by a different name, such as "personal financial planning." That's what budgeting is, after all. It's a proactive approach – rather than a reactive approach – to managing your money.

Budgeting is an important component of financial success. It's not difficult to implement, and it's not just for people with limited funds. Budgeting makes it easier for people with incomes and expenses of all sizes to make conscious decisions about how they'd prefer to allocate their money. It can also help people save for retirement, emergencies, a new car or just about anything. For many people, having a solid budget in place, knowing how much money they have and knowing exactly where that money is going makes it easier to sleep at night. (For more on saving for retirement, see our Retirement Planning tutorial; Canadians, see the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) tutorial.)

This budgeting tutorial will teach you everything from setting up a budget to updating it as your circumstances change, as well as getting back on track if you go off your budget. Whether you're a college undergrad, retiree or somewhere in between, if you're looking for a way to manage your money better and improve your financial situation, then this tutorial is for you.


What Is Budgeting?
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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. I'm about to retire. If I pay off my mortgage with after-tax money I have saved, I can save 6.5%. Should I do this?

    Only you and your financial advisor, family, accountant, etc. can answer the "should I?" question because there are many ...
  2. My wife and I both converted our Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs over a decade ago and have invested the maximum allowed each year since. We're buying our first home soon. Do we both qualify for one-time, tax-free, $10,000 distributions?

    You and your spouse each qualify for a penalty-free distribution of up to $10,000 for the purchase, acquisition or construction ...
  3. Is a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) a qualified retirement plan?

    Take advantage of the government's retirement plan for employees with the Thrift Savings Plan. As with a 401(k), contributions ...
  4. Who manages the assets in a Roth 401(k) account?

    Learn how to personally manage the assets in your Roth 401(k) plan and determine the best options available to help meet ...
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