8 secrets to building a budget you can live with

Taking charge of your finances can be tough. Use these tactics to get maximum gain for minimum pain

Some people refer to budgets as a “money diet.” That’s an unfortunate choice of words given the negative connotations associated with dieting: reduced options, deprivation, maybe even pain.

Fortunately, a budget doesn’t have to hurt. It’s not punishment for sins real or imagined; it’s a simple, smart tool for taking control of your finances.

Like a healthy and realistic diet, budgeting is all about balance: saving money (or calories) where you can so you can spend (or eat) where you want. So, whip your finances into shape by following the next eight secrets to a budget that makes sense — and cents — for you.

1. Create a goal. What do you really want out of life in the short and long terms? Maybe your budget is currently about damage control: managing consumer or student debt, or paying off that lemon you wish you’d never bought.

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