Budgeting is the only practical way to get a grip on spending, and to make sure your money is being used the way you want it to be.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Watch out for cash leakage. If withdrawals from the ATM moves cash from your pocket without apparent explanation, it’s time to keep better records. In general, if you find yourself returning to the ATM more than once a week or so, you need to examine where that cash is going.
Beware of liabilities dressed up as necessities. If your income doesn’t cover your costs, then some of your spending is probably for luxuries, even if you’ve been considering them to be filling a real need.
Tithing. Aim to spend no more than 90% of your income. That way, you’ll have the other 10% left to save for your big-picture items.
Beware of spending creep. Once you’ve set your budget goals, you need to develop the habit of tracking your expenses on an ongoing basis and make sure the spending stays within the limits you’ve set.