To be prepared for a bright future—as well as the unexpected—careful financial planning is essential not only for businesses but for individuals. It’s not just about saving for retirement, either. Having a well-thought-out budget also allows you to pinpoint where you may be spending more than you’d like and make wise decisions when it comes to big-ticket purchases.

For those new to the art of budgeting, getting started can be the most difficult step. Below, 16 financial experts Forbes Finance Council share smart, novice-friendly tips to help.

Leverage dedicated budgeting apps.

Setting up and sticking to a budget is like dieting: If you set unachievable goals or, worse, nonspecific goals, it will be hard to stay the course. To keep yourself accountable, I recommend using Mint, PocketGuard or another budgeting app to track your budget and daily spending habits. Don’t worry if you miss your goals. Like dieting, taking action when it comes to your finances is half the battle. - Catherine York Powers, Constant AI

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