Budgeting is a constant process that needs to be tweaked month to month or week to week to figure out what really works for you. I am very aware of my spending and always kind of operate with a general budget in my head, but for the month of august I decided to put one in writing to help me stick my savings goals for the month after I had a very high spending month in July (I took a vacation to new york which included shopping). It's so easy to leave out stuff when you think you've covered everything- for me it was entertainment. I gave myself a shopping category and a food category, thinking that drinks and meals out with friends would go under food and the other fun stuff was shopping. By day 8 I was already getting way to close for comfort to my $200 shopping limit (curious where my money went? dry cleaning bill, foundation from saks, toiletries/prescription from walgreens, and a bunch of office supplies from staples) so I starting being very aware of my spending in that category. Well I ended up going to two film festivals this month and I realized the tickets that I bought had no category. They aren't what I consider "shopping", and aren't food either. So far I've been well under my food budget ($60 per week) so I think I will roll entertainment into that category, which will force me to eat out less when I've spent too much on entertainment.
Of course once again my savings goal has been shot by those large but necessary expenses that seem to rise out of nowhere every month. This month it was my christmas plane ticket ($200), two years of web-hosting for my web design business site ($100) and the bike that I will mostly like buy tomorrow ($150). I guess I should just count myself lucky that even after all that I will have some left over to save, and disasters unforeseen will not be purchasing any more plane tickets for the rest of the year.