I read radi8's Budgeting 101 post, specifically the Envelopes method. Curious to see how other people (or rather, how many) people are employing this method, or what alternative methods they may be using.
Myself, I use a finance app on my phone. Each time I make a purchase, I deduct it from the relevant category, whether it be gas, discretionary, groceries, etc. I like this because similar to the envelopes method, it lets me keep track of my remaining budget funds in real-time as the month progresses.
I can see the down-side of this versus the envelope method though. It is far too easy to forget to enter in a purchase on the phone's app. To counter this, I've just been auditing my monthly credit card statements and cross-checking it with the purchases I've entered in my phone's app. If something is missing, I just deduct it from the current month budget to account for the prior month omission.
I use a credit card to pay for the majority of my purchases, so the envelope method wouldn't work for me as I'd be missing out on the rewards. However, I have to think that there has to be an easier way than entering every purchase + doing a monthly audit.
ETA: the monthly audit takes me about 1-1.5 hours once per month.I suppose in retrospect it's not that bad, but still curious to see what others think, thanks.
Excel. No need to get complicated.
In my case it's really simple. I know roughly what I have in my checking account, and can mentally do a rough deduction every time I use my debit card, or pay for something out of my checking account online or by phone. When the balance gets "blurry", I just send a text mesage to my bank to get the latest balance. I only have 2 monthly bills to worry about(everything else is either yearly or every 6 months), and am the only one accessing this account, so my "system" works for me.
I use mint.com.
It has really brought our spending under control since we started using it.