A personal or household budget is an itemized list of expected income and expenses that helps you to plan for how your money will be spent or saved, as well as track your actual spending habits. The word budget may have taken on a slightly negative connotation over the years, invoking an image of pinching pennies or limited spending.
However, a budget is really just a tool to gain a better and more accurate insight into your spending habits. By listing all of your sources of income against all of your monthly expenditures (from required expenses like mortgage or rent payments to discretionary spending like eating out or going to the movies), you get a true picture of your personal cash flow, which will allow you to make better and more informed financial decisions. An accurate budget will also help you to better understand what you can and cannot afford.