I like to be in control of my finances and the only way that I have found to have that control is to have a plan...better known as a budget. People say that they try to budget but something always comes up. It is understandable that it takes some time and practice to get the hang of making a written budget but it is also important to have an emergency fund so that when a true emergency happens, there is money to take care of it. It is also important that if you are married that your budgeting includes your spouse so that neither feels their priorities are not being taken into account.
The basic idea is to take the money that comes in (take home pay) and spend it all on paper--just write down all your expenses for the coming month. It surprises many people that they will have money left over after writing down expenses. Use that money to build the emergency fund or save for something special; I have a category for "mad money" for each of us to have some pocket money.
Being in control of our finances has allowed us to live debt free, in a paid for home, driving paid for vehicles, and have a good emergency fund. I know that at the end of the year when property taxes, home owner's insurance, and Property Owner's Association fees come due, the money will be there to pay them because I've been saving $500 per paycheck all year long.
There's less stress with no money fights because all is agreed on in advance. There's less stress because expenses are planned and saved for in advance.
Wouldn't it be nice if Congress would sit down with a pad of paper and pencil, list what expected income is, budget anticipated necessary expenses, and put the remainder in a rainy day fund. Then we wouldn't be having this national nervous breakdown over raising the debt ceiling and paying down the debt.