3. Take off the mask
Be honest with yourself. Don’t pretend that everything’s okay if it isn’t. The easiest way to ensure that the budget is effective is to accept how you spend your money. If you don’t want to believe your family, for instance, spends hundreds on dinner-and-a-movie outings every month, the budget will become your enemy instead of a helpful tool. One of the best ways to predict future spending is to look at past trends—and change them accordingly.