7 savvy steps to escape the credit grid
When you get paid, pay your essential bills such as rent or mortgage and utilities, then take out and allocate what seems like an adequate amount of cash for each budget item, starting with your highest priorities, says Burton.
For more variable costs such as groceries, figure out how much you actually need to spend by carrying a notebook with you to record purchases or using a combination of paying by debit card and tracking your purchases on a website like Mint.com, says Kirchenbauer.
Burton suggests using an envelope system where you stash money in labeled envelopes for each type of expense. But keep in mind, you'll probably need to make adjustments in the amount you put in each envelope as time goes by, especially if you've never worked from a budget, says Burton.