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Opinion
Teresa Ghilarducci

Yes, You Can Make a Personal Budget in Just 25 Minutes

It doesn’t take long to take control of your spending.

It does not, in fact, grow on trees.

It does not, in fact, grow on trees.

Photographer: FBI/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Now is a great time to develop a serious budgeting habit. 2021 might bring changes to your annual income. President-elect Biden will want to spend a lot to save the economy and lives from Covid-19, and  if your annual income is north of $400,000 you could see higher taxes. Those hardest hit by the K-shaped recession might get another stimulus check and more unemployment benefits. Look at your finances now so that you’re prepared for any changes.

A nation should run deficits; households should avoid them. People without budgets are more likely to fall into debt — and anxiety. But search for “how to create a budget” and most results are inadequate. Much advice focuses on those with no or low incomes, ignoring other barriers to budgeting like unexpected layoffs or expenses. And almost everyone underestimates the rewards of budgeting.