When my husband and I were first married, a Catholic home-educating friend, Debbie Brock, introduced me to Phil Lenahan's Finances for Today's Catholic Family (updated title: The Catholic Answers Guide to Family Finances). This book served us well and gave us a proper understanding of budgeting in relation to Church teaching, tithing, and the need to always pay off our credit cards right away (my husband was already aware of the latter). Eventually, we simply incorporated the principles and stopped budgeting.
This spring and summer, I was constantly telling my husband, "We can't pay this bill or that bill until your paycheck arrives." A friend, who was completely unaware of my comments and the stress that I was unknowingly inflicting on my husband sent an email to our homeschool group with the subject, "Budget is Not a Four-Letter Word". She was recommending You Need a Budget. We started using YNAB Pro in October. After receiving our bank statement, I entered the balance from checking and savings into their respective categories. When our credit card bills arrived, I entered those purchases (some were made in September) under the specific credit card categories, transferring the payment in checking and recording the purchases in our budget. I tried to make sure that our budget equaled $0, but I overspent a little bit in two categories. October showed me the total of my husband’s income (I already knew this number in my head) and what we needed to budget in each category in November. It also made me aware of the fact that money spent on our credit cards was truly spent.
Prior to using YNAB Pro, I had no idea what our credit card bills would be. We always paid them off, but not without a little juggling and stress. This month, I know what our bills will be in December and we will be able to pay them off without any stress.
Thanks to You Need a Budget (and the principles that I learned from Phil Lenahan), we have taken our first baby step towards not experiencing financial stress. Now, we need to start working on Rule 1: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck; we need to start making a buffer.
This is an unsolicited recommendation.