Over at The Centsible Sawyer, there is a post today about budgeting. My husband and I have had a written budget for about 3 1/2 of our 4 years of marriage. We use an Excel spreadsheet and have 28 (I know it sounds like a lot!) categories. For us, it has been a fabulous tool for tracking our spending. Each year (sometimes more often) we tweak the budget by adding categories and changing amounts. We've added additional tabs to the budget for us to notate our spending on gifts, our savings for various goals (we have a number of "funds" named on our spreadsheet that we put different savings amounts into.), and even to track our income. This may sound complicated, but it really has been extremely helpful for us.
When we set up our budget, we used a lot of resources available at Crown Financial Ministries. There are a number of forms, worksheets, calculators, and other tools available at this web site. Check them out at Crown's Free Publications Online. We used the suggested percentages from this site and Larry Burkett's books to create our initial budget. We also have used The Crown Money Map as a guide for saving and investing. Crown (and especially Howard Dayton, who used to do a radio show called "How to Manage Your Money") does an amazing job of discussing money and finances from a Biblical perspective. I hope to write more about budgeting and Crown's resources in future posts.