Wow! I know how easy it can be to spend more than you planned. Christmas is the hard holiday for me, I have a habit of going overboard and it can seriously hurt our bank account.
My husband and I sat down and worked on a yearly budget. We look over our budget every three months to make sure we are still on track. We looked at how much money is coming in and listed all of our fixed expenses (mortgage, sewer-water-trash pickup, electricity, etc.) Then we looked at our other expenditures (groceries-which includes any cleaning chemcials needed, car expense (oil, gas, maintenance), home maintenance, etc.) We worked to figure out what we might need for the year and then broke it down into monthly (and sometimes weekly) expenses. We also made sure to budget for family vacations, gifts (including extended family and Christmas), emergency fund, etc.
We made sure to pay ourselves, $10 a week allowance, for those things that we wanted that are frivolous. I have discovered if we didn't pay ourselves then we overspent dramatically without realizing it. Now we know how much is in our own envelopes at any given time.
Then we made envelopes for those budgets that we needed to be accessible, and I get cash once a week from the bank. Those budgets are dogs, allowance (we each get our own envelope), eat out, and groceries. I made the envelopes out of scrap fabric and ironed on Velcro so the change doesn't fall out.
Now, if I don't have the money I don't buy any extras. I have been known to ask a grocery clerk to put a few things back because I couldn't afford them for the week.
Most weeks I come home with $5 or $10 extra in our grocery pouch. I save this extra money for when there is a huge sale on the foods we use regularly.
My son has 7 food intolerances so we buy mostly organic foods, but I am able to feed our family of 3 for $150 a week. We can't use coupons very often because I buy unprocessed foods and companies don't make coupons for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. =) But I use them when I can.
I hope my story helps you figure out where to start. Check out the FlyLady website: www.flylady.net. She has a FACE your finances control journal that breaks the process down into manageable steps. The link directly to her list of journals is: http://www.flylady.net/pages/control_journals.asp
The FACE is the first journal listed.
Good luck! I hope you find financial peace.