I learned from the government shutdown that a sudden pay loss can be crippling to a family. When the dust settled and the paychecks resumed I bought a gift card from the grocery stores I frequent. Each week I add $10 to one of them. Should an emergency occur, I have some back up to be able to feed my family.
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Buy yourself a gift card. When your favorite restaurant or grocery store has specials on gift cards (ie purchase a $50 gift card get a $5 gift card free) purchase them for yourself. If you shop there anyways, you know that you will use it plus you get an extra $5
At the beginning of the month when you go to the grocery store, use your credit card to buy store gift cards and use them to buy your groceries for the month. On the receipt it shows how much is left on your card, hopefully keeping you within budget. If you get close to the end..
..you may not buy things you really don't need, or you may have money left for the next month. Using the credit card to buy the store cards may get you some perks from the credit card. You then can send a payment to the card company. : ) Isn't on-line banking great!!
If you have a credit card that gives you rewards such as gift cards for accumulated points, save them all up until December then cash them in. I have done this the last couple of years and gave the gift cards as presents or got them for myself then purchased Christmas presents at the store using the gift card.
The best thing about this is that no one will ever know!
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