I've been in the habit these past few years of keeping a number of different checking accounts with money earmarked for various things. I had an account just for the gas, electric, and phone bills, one for fun purchases such as online music and new books, etc. Also there were several separate savings accounts that I would put money into each month to save for whatever the account was named for. I did this because I wanted to make sure that whatever was left in the main checking account was what I could spend without having to worry, am I going to have enough left over for the gas bill?
Since I have been out of (steady) work for about nine months non-consecutively and have just started to have normal income, I'm working with a lot less money than I used to, and am trying to pay down the accumulated debt with it. Also, I'm now getting paid biweekly instead of once a month, which complicates things in my eyes. So I made up a list of what I would pay each paycheck - half of what I wanted to pay each month to the credit cards, half of the estimated bills, half the rent to Boyfriend, etc. Since my previous method of having a bzillion checking accounts involved keeping some slush money in each account, I decided to bite the bullet and do things the way most people do them - that is, having everything paid out of my main account, so I wouldn't have to continually transfer money and have that much slush - when I was working before, I usually had $500-600 in the various accounts beyond what was needed.
I was worried, however, that I would spend too much without knowing and overdraw the account.
Then it occurred to me: As long as I stay within my budget, I won't overdraw, because I have planned out how that money will be spent. So as long as I don't spend more than $100, I know that I've got enough. (Plus I have a savings account attached to the checking, so I can transfer some money in if I need to spend more one week.)
I realize that most other PF bloggers have probably realized this a long time ago, but I feel much better now.