7.  Use the Right Tools: Finally, using the right tool can make budgeting more effective and less painful. There is no single best budgeting application. What works best for one person might not work best for somebody else. Yet, there are several really good budgeting tools that are either free or very inexpensive. Many of these tools link directly to your bank account and credit cards to automatically download and categorize transactions. They also come with smartphone and tablet apps, and they provide a clear picture into how money is being spent.