It's something many of us have but could all probably improve upon: a basic budget is essential for managing your money from month-to-month. But how effective and well attuned is your budget to the demands of your lifestyle, countered by the limits of your income? If you're just setting out on your own for the first time, it's an especially pertinent question. If you're new to budgeting for yourself — or if you could use a refresher course in the basics — consult our back-to-basics budgeting guide for tips that can help you make sure you're putting funds toward the most important things as you see them.
There's always an opportunity to see where your budget can do more for you. Your priorities will shift over time as you go from college student to working professional to retiree: make sure your budget shifts in tandem with changes in your life.
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This article was originally published on October 27, 2015, and has been updated.