– Your budget isn’t a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie – you can’t “set it and forget it,” especially early on in the process.  In the first 90-120 days of budgeting, you might have to check in weekly or even twice a week to make sure you’re staying on track.  Then, at the end of the month, do a post-mortem to see how things shook out and to help you more effectively plan for next month.  As you get better at budgeting, you won’t have to check in as much.

– Hybridizing the system with debit and credit will work out poorly most of the time.  If you’re weaning yourself off a credit card, go ahead and make the move.  Leave the credit card at home so you don’t overspend, and move to cash and debit.  When you try to do a new system of cash and debit, but keep using the credit card, you’re going to make a mess and get frustrated with the whole thing.

– Giving and savings need to come first.  If you start your budget with life expenses, you’ll never get back to giving and saving.  So straighten out your priorities, put giving and saving first, and aim to spend 20% of your income between giving and saving.  It might take time to get there, but it’s a worthwhile goal.