Why should you bother with budgeting? Well, it's true that most of us would rather poke ourselves in the eye than sit down and plan a budget. Many would rather slam a door on their hand than actually live according to a budget. That's just wrong thinking, though. 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.

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.

And here are some amusing (really!) articles on budgeting, by Dayana Yochim: