Since 2010 is almost here, I will review what I do with my spending each paycheque. I call them "buckets" what I put my money into. What I will do is physically grab $300 in cash out and that is my spending money each paycheque. The theory is that this will minimize credit card use. Also it allows me to save for more long range things so that my one time spending is cut down.
Here are the buckets:
Groceries: $100 - pretty self explanatory. I purchase groceries every other week and keep it under $100. If we need something in the meantime (milk, bread, eggs, etc.) it comes out of this bucket as well.
Miscellaneous Spending: $80 - this is spent on whatever I want. I give myself $40 per week as "play money" to do what I want. I am budgeted fairly tight, but there has to be some wiggle room and this is it. As well, if I need to move this money to another "bucket", I can do so.
House: $20 - this are for fix-ups or maintenance on the house, along with any other furniture or purchases for the house. We hope to put new floors in the house this summer. It is much easier for me to save for 6 months than it is to take $600 from MasterCard to do it.
Clothes: $20 - me having a clothes bucket make my fiancee very happy. Coats, shoes, etc. will all come out of this bucket. It is much easier to buy $100 winter boots when the cash is sitting in front of you than saying "I can't afford those boots!"
Gifts: $20 - although this didn't work as well as I'd hoped, this bucket is for people's birthdays, and for Christmas, etc. I had only about $240 saved up for Christmas this year (as you will find out on Saturday when I update my net worth) and for next year I am hoping that all my spending can come out of this.
Video Games: $20 - this may get chopped as the year progresses (and its the first bucket that is emptied if I need the money for something else), but this is intended to limit my MasterCard spending if I need to rent a movie or purchase a new video game (which I would buy used of course).
Vacation: $20 - this is a new bucket. My fiancee is a traveller, so she likes the idea of saving up and going every year or other year to Hawaii (or somewhere else tropical and glamourous). For me, I need to save up for this and if I have the money in an account, I will unfortunately put it towards a loan of some kind, so this is the easiest way for me to do this.
Courses/Donations: $20 - I want to donate more. I am taking two courses this year (one starting in the next week and one during the summer) so I want to save some money towards those. After that, my courses will be done for a while, so I want to also increase my donations. Here is an excellent link on the tax benefits of donation, but now that my finances are coming together I want to try to help others when I can.