Budgets are some of the best financial tools around – when planned properly and followed faithfully. Here are 10 ways a budget can ease the financial stresses in your life.You can avoid immediate disaster by requesting bill extensions or payment plans. They’re frequently granted. Review credit card bills. You may only have a $40 minimum due, but if you miss it, there’s a late fee and possibly higher rates, not to mention a blow to your credit score. Prioritize bills to determine which to pay first. Contact the companies to whom you owe late bills, and establish a payment plan. Ignore the 10% savings rule if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. It makes no sense to have a little in savings if you’re dealing with bill collectors. Use online budgeting tools to review and categorize each month’s spending. Negotiate better credit card rates with a simple phone call to the company. It often works. Eliminate unnecessary expenses, such as coffee trips or movie dates. Find cheaper car insurance and use coupons to lower your grocery costs. Create a new budget and monitor your progress. Record every cent you spend to determine where you can cut back. Then take that new budget, see where you’re falling behind, and adjust your spending as needed. And finally, seek out new income. That might mean finding a new job, or an additional job.