I use a home budgeting software package called Home Budget that is based on the envelope system. At the start of the month it puts money into envelopes for each category of spending (home, food, gas, etc). Then as the month goes on you enter your expenses in those envelopes which takes money out of them. Your goal is to end the month without spending more in your envelopes than you started with. I’ve been using this software for a few years now but even before I started using it I knew that spending more than you make is a bad idea.
I’m surprised at how many people spend more than they make. Sure the whole economy is organized to make it easy to spend more than you make – from credit cards to loans that build debt rather than equity to same as cash offers at stores, etc. Still, it is a simple principle that should be taught in school from a young age – it is bad idea to spend more than you make. If you learn just one thing about managing your finances let that be it – “Don’t spend more than you make”.