Budgeting for not-entirely-smart folks

It's that time of year for everyone to start nagging each other about budgets. Eat in more often. Save your money. Cut up the credit cards. Is budgeting really practical, however? Aren't we just too busy to really bother keeping track of our money? Of course, my answer is no.

It's true that times have changed. In terms of money management and responsible spending, it has changed for the worse. Whereas our parent had to save their money to buy a car, today we can go get a loan for more car than we can afford. And consumers tend to overspend in lots of areas of their lives. Instead of asking themselves if they can really afford to make a major purchase, they often just look at the monthly payment on the item and go forward with the purchase.

If we keep spending at the pace that we are, we will have nothing left for retirement. Bankruptcy filings will continue to grow. Overall, personal responsibility will continue to decline, and who will help up then.