Budgeting… it’s almost a curse word among most people who aren’t planning for their financial future. It seems like a headache, a chore, or even an impossibility. It’s hard to understand why you might need to have a budget, so you excuse yourself by saying that not everyone needs a budget and you’re doing just fine without one. Here are five reasons you need a budget that might convince you otherwise.

1. Allows you to cut unnecessary expenses

Obviously, a budget will allow you to reduce unnecessary expenses. Are you spending too much on your morning coffee? You might discover that it saves money, time and gas if you buy your own coffee machine and bring it to work in a travel mug. The more unnecessary things you cut out, the more money you have available for the stuff that really matters to you, whether that means a yearly vacation, saving up to travel the world, enrolling in higher education, or just buying supplies to fuel a hobby.

2. Allows you to spend your extra money

For some reason, many people seem to think that budgets mean you don’t get to have any fun. Quite the opposite! Budgets mean you can spend the extra money you have without feeling guilty, wondering whether you can really afford both this trinket and your rent payment, or landing yourself in trouble. Often, people who start to budget are pleasantly surprised when they realize that budgeting means you have more “fun money” to do what you wish with – just as long as you know where it’s going!

3. Keeps you from getting into debt blindly

Younger people especially often have trouble with this, because nobody really sits the average high school student down to teach them the basics of money management. The lure of plastic – credit cards, especially – proves irresistible, and soon they find themselves buried in a mountain of debt that doesn’t seem to really affect them… until they try to get a house, car, or make some other large purchase and are denied due to their poor credit. Stop this from happening by simply knowing what you owe.

4. Can help you save to long-term goals

If you’ve always wanted to do something big, own something really cool, or go to some life-changing place, budgeting is a great tool to use towards your goals. It’ll stop you from wasting money, and allow you to pour enough money into your savings goals while still having money to blow without worrying on a day-to-day basis. Simply saving ten percent of every paycheck and learning to live as if you never had that money can yield a fantastic surprise when you see how quickly it adds up.

5. Keep a clear financial picture

Perhaps most obviously, a budget will give you a clear picture of exactly what your financial situation is like. This may seem like it would stress you out, but quite the opposite. Many people give themselves panic attacks by being unsure whether they can pay their rent, but this is very unnecessary. If they only budgeted, they could be sure they have enough to pay their essential bills and purchase the things they want, too.

These are just five of the many great reasons to have a budget. If you don’t know how, the internet can yield plenty of information on starting your first budget. Get ahead in life by making a budget now.