– A tool like Mint.com, MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com, Microsoft Excel or iWork Numbers can be very helpful, but don’t get caught up or bogged down in them.  They’re not a requirement for successful budgeting.  An old-school pencil and paper can work just fine.

– Once you finalize a budget, it’s time for execution.  Plan your work, and work your plan.  Go out and DO what it says you’re gonna do on paper.

– If something comes up in the middle of the month, you can’t just “hope it will work out.”  That’s a sure-fire formula for bouncing checks.  Go back to the budget, and figure out what you’re going to adjust to fit that in.  This is especially important for married couples.