How to create a budget
How I did it: Used MS Access to categorize & summarize my transactions for about six months. Then, based on how much I spend in each category, made a budget spreadsheet. Based on the spreadsheet, I set up automatic payments for my bills from each paycheck.
Lessons & tips: Make it as automatic as possible. Take advantage of direct deposit, and automatic transactions if your bank offers them. Also, I find having two checking accounts-- one for "fixed" payments (like rent, some utilities that don't vary from month to month like cable, car payments, and credit card payments) and one for "variable" costs (like groceries, gas, and phone bills). I'm hoping it'll help me control my spending.
Resources: Bank websites, Access, Excel