I'm a fan of MS Excel _ my apologies for those who have issues with Microsoft _ because I find its powerful calculations are easy to manipulate to help me better understand my finances. It doesn't really matter though which spreadsheeting package you use so long as you are able to calculate your amounts effectively. There are commercial budgeting worksheets available but if you want to create your own its a simple process.
Credit and debit cards can lure you into spending frenzy that can spiral out of control before you know it. Have you ever come to the end of the month and asked, "Where did all the money go?" The convenience of plastic has made it far too easy to make purchases that we might not make if we had to dip into our wallet and make a cash purchase. _ Studies have shown that spending increases as the means to pay for an item becomes easier. In other words credit cards have made buying transactions easier, so we're more likely to buy stuff without concern, until the bill comes at the end of the month! Likewise, new 'pay with a wave' credit cards will make it easier still and foster even more poor spending habits.