The best way to learn about budgeting is to eat food court Yong Tau Foo three weeks in a row. Because when you’re broke, that’s going to be your staple diet (Pro tip: if you put in three eggs, you’ll feel super full).

After three weeks of that, you’ll be so badly traumatised you’ll never consider another credit card application. But because this article focuses on humane methods, we’ll instead point out better alternatives – as well as the mainstream methods that don’t work:

1. Plan the budget on a spreadsheet, and then follow it

This is what everyone tries at first because it seems to make sense. You work out how much you have available to spend each week, and then write it all down on a spreadsheet. Then you follow it religiously. It’s as simplistic as a Point of Entry villain’s plot.

Why it never works:

There are two …