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What Is a Budget?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A budget is a type of list that clearly defines the profits and losses of a business or person. It is useful for helping a person or business manage money in terms of spending and saving. Many people make a budget for short-term goals, such as a vacation or a business forecast, while others may write budgets for more long-term spending and savings plans. The different categories included in budgets will vary according to the purpose of the document, as well as the overall goals of the person writing it.

A business budget is geared toward tracking how much the business has spent and how much it has profited. Many business decisions will be based off budgets, and the business owner may reduce or expand spending accordingly. A budget that is reporting large profits may, for example, allow a business owner to expand the business, stock more products, or do more advertising. If the business is reporting less income, a business owner may decide instead to cut spending, reduce stock, or even lay off employees, depending on how severe of a loss the business is enduring. A budget can also help a business owner stay organized during tax time, when profits and losses will need to be reported for tax purposes.

Individuals may draw up a home budget to determine how much money needs to be spent on bills, how much can be spent on recreation, and how much should be saved. The budget may be drawn up to accomplish short-term goals, such as paying off a car loan or saving up for a down payment on a home, or it may be a more long-term plan that allows the individual to track his or her spending habits and adjust them accordingly. Budgets can be changed, sometimes drastically, according to changes in a person's life; if a married couple, for example, has a child, budgets will need to be adjusted drastically to account for expenses associated with the child-rearing.

Budgets can also be drawn up for vacations or business trips, or other special events such as a party, wedding, and so on. These budgets are designed with the specific event or trip in mind, and the person can determine ahead of time how much money he or she intends to spend on different aspects of the trip or event. If he or she ends up spending more than they had budgeted, they are said to be over-budget.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari , Former Writer
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By animegal — On May 22, 2011

If you are planning a budget for a long trip, around 6 months, which kinds of things should be included in your calculations?

I find making a budget to be quite difficult, and wonder if anyone has some tips on how to make the process as painless as possible.

I would also like to figure in any income I might generate during my travels, but as I don't know exactly what that might be now, it seems extra hard to plan.

Also, does anyone know if there are free services that are offered that can teach you how to make a realistic budget and stick to it?

I was never great a math, so I could use the extra help.

By Sara007 — On May 20, 2011

I think budgets are as important for households as they are for businesses. Knowing your income, expenses and how much you have to spend on daily items, as well as for long term purchases is important to keeping your family safe and secure.

I love watching the show, Until Debt Do Us Part, which takes struggling couples and shows them how to budget their finances. With too much credit available to people, the average person these days seems to have no clue how to make household finances work.

I believe that if you want to have a happy marriage, you need to make sure you finances are in good shape. After all, money remains the number one cause of divorce.

Dan Cavallari

Dan Cavallari

Former Writer

Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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