I recently (1 month ago already?!) wrote a post analyzing where my money was going. After a month of continuing my habits unchallenged (oops), my boyfriend confronted me with the question, "Where does all your money go?!" After a brief conversation that involved him adding up everything I said and challenging me when it didn't match my income, I finally admitted that yes, I bought lunch at work sometimes, may have purchased some unnecessary items on Amazon, and yes those shirts are new, not ones that you just 'haven't seen before.'
After talking to a coworker about it, she recommended something that she's been doing with some success. Take your paycheck, subtract all the bills for the next 2 weeks (if you're paid biweekly) that need to be paid (if there's a bill coming up that's larger that you need to save for, account for that), and then divvy up the rest. So subtract expected payments (groceries, gas, etc) and then decide. Whatever I am left with, I can use as spending money. This works for me because I make a small sum teaching yoga, and I've decided to just directly deposit all earnings from there into a savings account (vs saving from my other check). Plus, some of that will have to be paid in taxes next April (*sigh*). This might be a simple strategy to many of you, but I'm still in the process of learning how to adult.
It's all done on paper. There's no percentages, relatively little math (not that math scares a wizard like me), and no hassling with tracking, paper or electronically. Although it doesn't help me differentiate where my money is going all the time, that's okay because I don't need that excess data; I need a consistent system.
When I get my fun-money amount, cash me outside (I never even saw that video). I will withdraw that amount in cash so then I will always have that awareness of how much I have to spend (vs accidentally charging too much during a night out). Also, I will use this to (try to) resist the temptation of online shopping--can't use cash there.
Also, I can't buy anymore kittens. (For some reason, I thought I could go to the humane society to 'just play with the kittens' and not take one home.)