Most of us would rather poke ourselves in the eye than sit down and plan a budget. And we'd rather poke the other eye than actually live according to a budget. However, that's just wrong thinking (besides being poor ocular hygeine). We should budget with delight. We should even have trouble getting to sleep at night, as we eagerly anticipate tending to our budget in the morning.

Budgeting can be very valuable because it permits you to optimize your spending. You might think that all is fine with your spending habits, but a little time spent on budgeting might reveal that you're spending a surprising amount on something that you don't care that much about. If so, you could tweak your habits a little and end up with more to spend on things you care about more, such as entertainment or investing.

Budgeting is even more vital if you're having trouble making ends meet. A little analysis of your spending patterns should show you where your money is going and might help you see where you could cut back. Knowledge is power, and going through the budgeting process gives you a lot of self-knowledge.

For more perspectives on budgeting, drop by our Budgeting discussion board -- and feel free to share your own thoughts there, too. We're offering a painless free trial to our acclaimed discussion board community.

To learn more about ways to save money and spend less, check out our Personal Finance area, which is chock-full of guidance on insurance, buying a car or home, paying for college, banking, setting up short-term savings, getting out of debt, lowering your tax bill, and more.

If thinking about financial planning makes your head hurt, and you'd like an actual person (a financial pro, no less) to talk to about your financial situation and how you can meet your goals, look into our TMF Money Advisor. It's a valuable service, featuring customized independent advice from objective financial experts.