Just keep it simple
As a single parent with 3 kids I looked for a lot of ways to cut back. I tried a lot of the"percentage plans" but I just couldn't work around it as rent and heating exceeded the 30%. One of my co workers found herself using up her savings to get by after buying her first home (she was a single parent with 1 child). She got the assistance of friend who wrote a book on managing finances. He put her on a budget of $100.00/week for groceries, gas, etc. It took a month to get use to the idea; but, she is loving it. She sees her bank account growing because she isn't spending money on things she doesn't need. She told me to do $150.00/week. I pondered the figure for a little while; but, then it really started to work. I would have the cash with me and make sure that if I go to the store that I only got what I needed because the money had to last the week. I would take my kids to the store and made sure they picked what they wanted to eat and made sure it didn't exceed $4/day for lunch for each. I now have money in the bank for fun stuff and savings and I can add everything up and have a net worth. All it took was sticking to $150.00/week spending for a family of 4.