A list of your income and expenses, no matter how complete, is not a spending plan, but is the information you need to create a spending plan. And, a paycheck_by_paycheck spending plan will help ensure the success of, or at least help prevent the failure of your budget.
Tip _ Track you spending _ Tracking your spending for 30 days before creating a budget will give you the concrete numbers of how much you spend in each expense category every month. Many people are surprised to see how all the little purchases at up at the end of the month. By knowing how much you typically spend in each expense category you can now plan those expenses for the next month in your budget. _ Tip _ Plan for periodic expenses _ When creating a monthly budget that actually works you will need to plan ahead for periodic expenses such as car insurance (if not paid monthly), yearly car registration, gift giving, school shopping, and insurance deductibles just to name a few. If you estimate these expenses for the year and then divide by 12 you will get an amount that you can save each month for these expenses.