We live pay check to pay check, so we have to stick to a budget if we want to have enough money to pay our bills and buy food. My husband is paid twice a month (on the 2nd and 4th Fridays which causes problems sometimes, but that's another story), so we work on a split budget a month. His first pay check each month covers specific expenses, and his second check covers the rest. I've written our budget out before, on paper, which is when we looked at the due dates for our bills and decided what should come out of each check. We worked off of that written budget for a few months, but now it's pretty much rote, so I keep most of it in my head. We use very little cash (though we should change that!) and only really write checks for our tithing. The rest of our bills we pay on line or over the phone (less work for me!), and our other shopping is done with our debit card. We have a credit card that we're trying to pay off, so we don't put much on that except emergency expenses. Our budget is roughly: Tithing: $220 Mortgage: $720 (I don't envy where you live!) Dish/internet/phone: $120 Power: $60 Trash removal: $22 Propane: $100 (ranges from practically nothing during the summer to close to $300 during the winter) Gas: $100 Groceries: $250 Misc Shopping expenses (diapers, junk food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies etc): $100 We try to leave a $200 buffer each month to put towards emergency expenses or some freak increase in our utilities or other expenses, but that doesn't always work out.