So I bought YNAB last year, and just started using it again in earnest in March. I've been having trouble wrapping my head about the zero-based budgeting approach, but I think I may have found a way to finally address it (for me and my little pea-brain), and wanted to see if others might think I'm doing it right.
Since we don't have a buffer (yet) and are still paycheck to paycheck, I have decided only to budget for each week. My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly, on alternating weeks. So, when my paycheck comes in on a Friday, I budget for the week, anticipating irregular expenses and accounting for small expenses throughout. Whatever is left over, instead of leaving it in the checking account, I have been moving it to our savings account to help accumulate our buffer.
It might seem simple, but I never did this before. I would just leave the "leftover" money in the checking account, and whenever some want came up, I would say, "Oh yeah, we have $x in checking so we can do that." And then, inevitably, some unexpected thing would come up and we'd be jumping onto the credit card to do it.
Has that worked for anyone else, as far as setting parameters for yourself?