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If you’re like many teens or young adults, your idea of budgeting is if you have any money left after you pay your bills, it’s time to splurge. While that can be fun, it won’t get you any closer to your financial goals. Whether your goals include a new TV, a better apartment, a new car or maybe even your first home—you’ll have a hard time getting there without a budget.

Braving the Budget

Don’t let the idea of a budget scare you. All you need to do is put your income and expenses down on paper (or computer screen) and do the math. We’re here to help guide you through the process. When you use the right information, you get a realistic snapshot of your own personal financial world.

What Everyone Should Have

Before you start plugging numbers into your budget, let’s take a step back and look at the five things that everyone should have in their budget:

What Next?

Some of you probably already have a good idea of what numbers to put into all of the above categories. If that’s you, you’re ready to move on to My Budget.

If you still need to clearly define what your income and expenses are, check out our Budget Basics section and we’ll walk you through the numbers.

Want to get a better grasp of your goals and possible time lines to achieve them? Our Defining Goals section can help you sort them all out.