I just graduated from College this past May. The week after I graduated, I moved from New York to Pennsylvania. The week after I moved, I got married to the woman of my dreams. The week after the marriage, my wife and I both started our Summer jobs. You could say I had a lot on my mind this past Summer.
As my wife and I started our lives together, we were a little scattered financially. She had her own savings account, and I had mine. We also had a bunch of wedding gift money laying around, and we were both working for the Summer. It was easy for us to say, "we can afford this... (fill in the blank: car payment, washing machine, apartment rent, student loan, etc.) But as the Summer went on, we noticed that our money was not going as far as we thought it would. At the end of the Summer, we finally sat down and crunched some numbers and realized that we did not have enough to continue making all of those monthly payments.
A little startled and suddenly financially scared, we asked our parents for some advice on how to handle our money. They told us that they make a budget. They keep track of EVERYTHING they spend, even if it is just a trip to the coffee shop. That way they always know how much money they have to spend, what expenses need to be paid for, how much they actually end up spending, and how much they have left over.
At the end of the Summer, my wife and I created a budget which we tweak and adjust each month as we learn about better ways to save and healthier ways to spend. Since making a budget, we spend our money smarter, and put away a little money each month for our expenses. Because of our budget and the advice from our parents, we now live off of last month's income, and within just three months of creating the budget, my wife's first graduate classes are payed for in full. This is our financial success story.