One, I don't know how people without computer check register programs do anything worthwhile with their fiscal planning. Maybe they don't. Maybe that's the problem.
While struggling with pen and paper to "create a budget" like Dave Ramsey tells me, a brilliant idea hit me. After I picked myself up from the floor (it hit rather hard, ba-dum-bump) I went to the "budget" feature in my program.
I may have cheated here, but it's a start and a start is what I needed.
I created an automated budget using my spending pattern from the last year. That gave me average percentages of spending per category (yes, I've been using categories for a while so that made it much easier). I applied those percentages to my new paycheck and voila! I have a budget!
You might argue that all I have is a record of how I've spent my money in the past. You'd be right. Except... I'm going to try Dave's envelope system. Using my new budget, I will spend only that much per month on those categories. I hope this will do a couple things.
1) It makes my spending deliberate and limited. Since I'm using cash, I can't go over those amounts and if I try, I'll know it immediately.
2) Since I'm accustomed to spending this way and in similar amounts, I think it will bypass my concern that I won't have the right amount in the right envelope at the right time.
I don't quite feel like I've gotten a raise (although I did with the new job) but I do feel a bit more in control of my money and consequently my life.
I can't remember if I've said this already, but I want very much to be responsible with God's blessings on my life. Living in a world just starting to feel the burden of its fiscal irresponsibility, it seems even more important to get my own house in order. I'm hoping this helps set my mind on long-term goals while allowing me a little breathing room in day-to-day living.
On a side note, let me know if you use a budget or envelope system or any type of method to regulate spending. I'm curious how other people do it.