Ponder it: to budget or not to budget
Some of us need or want a budget, some of us don't. Here are some tips for deciding which category you're in.
You probably need a budget if...
...your income has suddenly dropped.
...you make "enough" money but are still living paycheck-to-paycheck.
...you spend all your money every month but you have no idea where it goes.
...you know that some aspect of your spending (like eating out or buying shoes) is out of control.
...you want to make some serious (or even drastic!) changes in how you spend your money.
...you suddenly have new financial obligations (such as caring for an aging parent).
You may want a budget if...
...your income has suddenly risen.
...you're living on very little and want to continue being able to do so.
...you want to save more than you do currently.
...you want to know where your money goes every month.
...you're saving toward a goal and want to put every penny possible there.
...you want to see if there are some changes you could make in your spending.
You don't need a budget if...
...you have enough money to pay the bills, save into retirement, have an emergency fund, and spend some on yourself.
...you don't care where every penny goes as along as you're keeping up your financial responsibilities.
...your financial situation isn't changing and isn't going to in the near future.
...you are satisfied with how you're spending your money and don't want to change it.
...you have money left over after every paycheck, so you aren't living paycheck-to-paycheck.
...you're an inherently frugal person who would just obsess needlessly over a budget.
You don't even need to think about a budget if...
...looking at the numbers won't change how you spend your money.
...you won't keep the budget up to date.
...living within your means isn't important to you.
...living paycheck-to-paycheck doesn't bother you.
...you have a photographic memory and record all your financial transactions that way.
...the aliens are coming to get you soon, so your spending doesn't matter so much.