I found it hard to believe, but my coworker actually asked me what I meant by the word \u201cbudget.\u201d the other day. Apparently, I was going on and on about how I couldn\u2019t go out for drinks after work because it would break the entertainment section of my budget for the month. At first, I thought, Jim, my coworker, was kidding, but then I realized he was serious. I guess as Add New\u00a0 a computer guy he wouldn\u2019t need to know what a budget was, at least not as much as someone in the finance department, but still. He\u2019s 31. Didn\u2019t he have to take some consumer education class in high school or college?In case there are more people out there who don\u2019t know what a budget is, I\u2019ll run through some basics about it. I guess I took for granted that other people knew what it was (I mean you\u2019re at this site right?), but just to be on the same side, here we go. A budget, and consequently budgeting, involves setting up a plan that shows what you will be spending money on so that you can set money aside for financial and personal goals. Now, for some people, this probably brings up bad images in your mind. You might envision wearing the same clothes day in and day out because you can\u2019t afford new ones or having to eat a single piece of turkey for lunch, every day, for the next two months. Not the case at all, unless you are in worse student loan debt than I am.A budget isn\u2019t around to limit your fun. It is there to help you reach your goals and keep you focused on what you want to achieve. Having a goal in mind helps you realize that you don\u2019t need to waste your money on something that really will serve no purpose for you in your current situation. It comes back to the issue of what do you \u201cneed\u201d and what do you \u201cwant.\u201d Of course, we all want stuff, but we have to be able to balance that out against what we need. For instance, I need to make my car payment this month while still paying off a large chunk of my Student Loan. I want to go out socializing with all my friends from work, but I don\u2019t need to spend $25 at the bar to do so.The best way to start work on your budget is to track your spending over the course of three months. When I say track your spending, I don\u2019t mean say you blew around $45 bucks last night, but the record that you spent $39.47 when you went out to dinner with your girlfriend. Along the way, you\u2019ll probably notice some expenses creeping in that you always make, but that you don\u2019t really understand why it costs so much. If you\u2019re enjoying those little things, that\u2019s fine, but if they only provide limited joy, consider what you could do with that money instead. For instance, a friend of mine once calculated that with all the money I spend at Starbucks, I could buy two roundtrip flight tickets and a hotel to stay at for a week, anywhere in the world. But I like my Starbucks more.