Get the Most Bang for Your Budget

For most of us, budgeting ranks at the very bottom of our to-do lists, right below completing our taxes and visiting the dentist. In fact, two-thirds of Americans don’t even prepare a detailed budget at all, says a recent Gallup poll. According to researchers, “It is certainly possible that the strain of the recession or that modern banking technology — the ability to check one’s bank account balance or get money at any time — has caused fewer Americans to feel the need to budget.”

I reckon we’re also experiencing some fatigue over the entire notion of budgeting. The term itself is enough to elicit dramatic eye rolls. And since the recession, there’s been a growing emphasis on scrimping and saving and appropriating every penny into its own category, which — don’t get me wrong — has its merits, but in practice, can feel a lot like eating a bowl of your least favorite vegetable (for me, that’s zucchini).

But for those of us yearning for some financial order in our lives and ample wiggle room to actually start having a lifestyle, instead of just a life, budgeting can be instrumental. Check out my piece on for seven tips on how to get the most bang for your budget.

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I knew I should have carried my wallet in a purse that night. Instead, I fashionably tucked it under my arm and headed to the local wine bar with my husband. Two pinot noirs later I reached over to pay the bill only to realize that my wallet — which I thought I’d rested on the bar top — had vanished. Was it stolen? Did it fall on the ground somewhere? Hold on. Did I even bring my wallet? (The wine wasn’t helping.)

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