Budgeting came up in this discussion and tools like Quicken where you have your history are great. A bit about budgeting. I think often it's a misunderstood concept and purpose. I think of it in this way.
It's a forecast based on past and any anticipated changes. It's not an exact scientific tool.
It's a tool for forecasting and as in all forecasts there will be misses, some small, some major, some worse, some better. That's where the real value comes in because if you know what you based the budget on, now you see where you were wrong and you learn.
The earlier you make budgeting a practice, the better you will get at it and the more you will benefit from it. You learn a lot about yourself and your expenditure and you also then decide if certain things are worth it.
The average person has no idea how much certain things are costing them. I've seen persons who newly started budgeting and tracking numbers through Quicken make changes quickly. I know one young lady who got iced tea every morning from a convenience store and every afternoon from Sonic. She had no idea how much that was costing her a month and she now makes her own ice tea at home. The surprise to her was how much more convenient it was. We're seeing huge numbers cutting the cable and switching to streaming services. We also notice all the things where vendors are sneaking the price up. Gym memberships are very good at that. And in states where you have a choice, the amount you can save by switching electricity vendors is staggering. Through budgeting, you acquire information you can use to make changes. Or sometimes you just know to raise the budget.
I've often said that information doesn't have any inherent value, carries no value by itself. It's value is the use you can then make of that information.