I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “living paycheck to paycheck.” It’s pretty self explanatory, but it means you use your most recent paycheck to fund your life until you receive your next paycheck. There is an implied lack of safety where if you run out of money from your most recent paycheck, you simply have no money until your next paycheck.
One month ahead is what I think you should be aiming for, and it’s what my family lives by. What does that mean? It’s pretty simple. All of the money we earn in, say, January, is the money we spend in February. All of the money we earn in February is what we spend in March. We earn our money one month before we spend it.
Why do we want to do this?
It provides a cushion, for one. We aren’t running out of money a week before we get paid, because we earn our money well in advance of spending it. More practically, when you have an entire months worth of income available, budgeting becomes way simpler.
YNAB is the budgeting software that I use, and it operates with a monthly budget. Having the money you are going to budget already in hand makes using your budget much simpler. It relieves stress and provides peace of mind.
I would absolutely advise saving up until you can make the leap to one month ahead. It took my family a few years to make the transition, saving a little each month towards that goal, but it has been well worth it.