How To Micro Manage Your Home Budget, Painlessly. For double income/no kids- Couples.

Coming through...move over....excuse me.
Coming through...move over....excuse me.
Keeping yourself well-covered
Keeping yourself well-covered

It's REALLY all about attitude. Are you willing to do what it takes to be in charge of your money?

You've read all the books on handling your money wisely. You're into all the tricks of saving, sacrificing, balancing and cutting corners. For years you believe you've put genuine effort into juggling the home budget

With the current economic crunch, joblessness and foreclosures, you're beginning to panic. What on earth can you do now? What's left to do that you haven't tried?

Relax, kick back, breathe and read on....

C'mon, take a big deep breath. I said this will be painless and I promise it will be. For starters, I am not a licensed money manager, a financial advisor by career, nor a controller for a major corporation. What that should do is assure you I'm not going to get into long, drawn out lectures, draw complicated graphs for you to try to decipher, nor ask you any embarrassing or personal questions. You need not fill out any forms stating your income, your bills or your spending habits. I don't want lists of your unavoidable household living expenses.We all pretty much know what these things are for every person in America.

The only one who needs to know all of these things is you. All I will expect of you is to be totally honest with yourself. Although I intend to get very specific and discuss every single minute detail of a household budget, you get to be the one who accepts or rejects any or all of it. I need to stress as I said, it is all about attitude.


Since you have chosen to read this, I will safely assume at the very least, you have an interest in budget micro-managing. This then would lead me to understand that you just want to be able to truly manage your household needs and maintenance in terms of expenses, while creating a savings nest egg, an emergency fund and some much needed peace of mind.

These are reasonable things to want. In fact, a responsible way to think and requires only adjusting to new and different behaviors that eventually become habit.



Loose leaf notebook/Budget Records
Loose leaf notebook/Budget Records

Supplies needed: Me and You, an open mind, motivation & a notebook

This will be the most informal cheap and easy course you've ever taken. Many years ago, I'd have paid whatever I needed to, to have someone hand me this education. As it was, however, I went through the School of Hard Knocks, like so many did and may be going through at this moment. I'm happy to say, I made it through, graduated with honors and use this valuable knowledge every day and pay it forward every chance I get.

What will you not need?

You'll be happy to learn, you won't need to deal with any suggestion or advice from me about increasing your household income. I'll not be telling you that you or your spouse have to get out there and find a second job, another way to utilize your time and energies that are already stretched to capacity. Nor will I be doling out any helpful tips about how to live in darkness and cold or starve to death. I will offer no suggestions to conserve on water by not bathing or washing your clothes nor watering your plants. You have to be frustrated to the max with these useless ideas. I know I am.

Very true ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MONEY..
Very true ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MONEY..

We shall move forward from the very point you are NOW, Today, working with all things as they exist this moment.

I understand that where ever you are now in terms of your household budget, it is what it is. How you got here, what you did and did not do in the past is yesterday. As long as you are prepared to make an attitude adjustment, we are good to go forward. Micro-managing is not scary and you can do it. As long as you are self-disciplined and have a grip on self-control, you're bound to be successful at micro managing.

bread, milk eggs & COOKIES
bread, milk eggs & COOKIES
Good Boy!!
Good Boy!!
Econo Car
Econo Car

Expenses, Per month......we'll discuss INCOME, later.

Grab your notebook and have a seat. Use a pencilwith a good eraser. I'll give you some time to list your monthly living expenses.

Living expenses are those bills that are due and payable each and every month, also known as fixed expenses to live in your home or apartment. Mortgage/rent, Insurances and property taxes, utilities (gas, electric, water, phone, cable, trash pick up,) & your car payment. Come up with a total, circle it and keep this group of bills separate from any others you will list.

Continuing on, down the left side of the paper now, just write the words that apply to you in terms of "other expenses," whether monthly or otherwise, such as groceries, pets(pet food, Vet visits for vaccines, pet grooming) household cleaning products, hygiene/grooming products, fuel, toll and/or parking fees, bus or cab fare, church offerings, hair salon, manicures and pedicures, bowling night, bingo night, etc.....Anything and everything you think of, write it all down. I expect you are both contributing to this list. If you do this right, your list will be quite long, to your own surprise. For instance.....

Are you a Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts, daily customer? Jot down those expensive drinks and don't forget the pastry or muffin! Rent several movies a week? Play the Lottery on a regular basis?
Don't mind me, I'm just mentioning things that a lot of people just don't think about and may not include. It's called,
mindless spending. All the cash we shell out during the course of daily living that we pay no attention to whatsoever....almost as if these dollars don't count or add up considerably. They DO.

While on this subject, get into the habit of asking for a receipt for every purchase. I mean, all purchases...postage stamps, ice cream cones, odds & ends you pick up at the corner store on your way home from work. Keep an envelope or small box in your car, or throw them in your purse or pocket until you can add them to your receipt container at home.

Notice there's been no mention of credit cards or credit card debt, yet. This category is definitely a separate issue, to be dealt with by itself a bit later on. In the meantime though, keep a few things in mind in terms of this destructive plastic: I am not going to get crazy and suggest you cut them up and have a ceremonial burning of the cards. What you need to seriously consider is surrendering and stashing( under lock and key if possible,) all but one credit card, to be used for emergency-only purposes. You're on your honor to yourself and/or to each other. Remember, I mentioned self-discipline. Dig down deep and show yourself what you're made of!

Pay day...weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?
Pay day...weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?
CASH to your avail.
CASH to your avail.

INCOME: Right Hand Column

Unfortunately, jotting down income doesn't take much time or thought. You (and partner) make what you make and it's fairly simple to keep track of. If your paycheck is variable from week to week based on your work schedule, use an average of four week's worth of paycheck amounts.

For the sake of ease and clarity, I'll use a nice, round, reasonable amount of $2400 per person, per month, take-home pay...( $600.00 per week). The same amount for a second income, or $4800 per month total Net income.

One very important goal in micro-managing is to reach the point, in perhaps four to six months time, where you have to your avail, at least one month in advance, the total amount of your fixed monthly expenses. (That total amount at the very top, you circled and set apart from the rest)

Please note that I am guessing and/or estimating imaginary costs, but because you have your costs in front of you, I trust you are capable of following the concept I present, using your personal information. Our numbers won't match, but the concept applies in any case. About those fixed monthly bills.....

Mortgage/Rent may be from such a wide range of costs, I'm using $1100, based on the reasonable comparison to your income. With a total income of $4800, it would be acceptable to assume,$1100 is a feasible cost, between extremely high and exceptionally low. If, you were wise enough to include your taxes and property insurances within your mortgage (in escrow), this is not only to your benefit, but an enormous load off your mind. Otherwise, you must total your property tax amount and Home owners Insurance annual payment and divide by 12. This is for the purpose of monthly calculations only.. Because my friend, if you pay taxes and insurance separate from your mortgage, these bills arrive at some point during the year, due and payable in full. (Ouch) Often at the worst possible time. Count on it. If you rent, property taxes are of no concern and all you may have to keep on your list would be Renter's Insurance, and it is a wise move to have it..

Your monthly car payment could be any amount from $500 (extravagant to a fault) to $150 (good deal!) We'll use $275. To my knowledge, in any U.S. State, Auto insurance is mandatory. You have a car, you have auto insurance. Perhaps you pay this annually, but for the sake of what we're doing here, let's say, $100 per month. OK...do not relax. If there are 2 parties, and two cars, time to multiply by two. This brings a total monthly expense to $750. On to utilities....

Please total each monthly utility cost for the previous year and divide by 12. Should you already be on a balanced billing program for gas and electric, of course this isn't necessary for those two utilities. This program is a personal choice and may be advantageous to some individuals in particular cases, but I will interject, that I am not in favor of balanced billing payments. Now come up with your monthly total of all utilities combined. Staying with the same six utilities I mentioned above, I'll conclude a monthly amount of $475.

This gives us a Total of $2325, in fixed monthly expenses, based on two parties, for our particular imagined scenario here. This leaves a balance in monthly income, at $2475.

Take time and determination=Control & Discipline
Take time and determination=Control & Discipline
Your Best friend.  The Calculator.
Your Best friend. The Calculator.

Budget Micro-Management is ONGOING.

With your total balance in mind, before we move on to your long list of other expenses, put $100 aside and forget about it for a moment.

Now, to that long list of what we'll call probable or possible expenses throughout the period of one month. Top two would be food (fuel) for you and fuel for those cars. Again, having no way to know how much gas you may consume in a week, or how,when and where you shop for your groceries, I have to step up and consider amounts. We're all aware we don't normally grocery shop or fill our tanks once a month....but the estimated total monthly amount is what we're working with. .I am going with $600 for food and auto fuel for the month.

Briefly, if you have a pet dog or cat, simply add the cost of their monthly chow, and the possible two visits per year to the Vet for vaccines, (divided by 12)...for the monthly input to your budget. Forget the groomer. Fido gets a bath at home. Think of it as a bonding experience. Professional Pet grooming is unnecessary, at least for the next six months to a year.

You have a coffee maker, a special cup for the car and those dozen muffins or cinnamon rolls you whipped up over the week-end. Oh yes, you can and you will. A couple bucks for a mix and about 30 minutes of your time.....wrap them individually for freshness and store in the fridge. Drive right on by Starbucks and realize that you're saving well over $20 a week...OR $80 a month! Remember, mindless buying and attitude? If you BOTH do this, it's $160 per month. Please....let's get real. For coffee and a muffin?

OK, a minute to breathe and re-cap thus far. If you've done the math along with me, you know your $2475 balance, after fixed monthly expenses, is now at $1775. Now we can get into some of the negotiable things.

Amusement and entertainment is an important part of life. No argument here. However, for the purpose of this learning experience and until you become not only comfortable but near-expert at this micro-managing.....enter: Negotiations. We're not discussing necessities here nor things we will die without. If you bowl, love Bingo, have dinner out more than once a month, you have a choice. Bite the bullet and choose one. Be big boys and girls, and dispense with all others. No whining. You're honing your attitude toward money. Yes, you can play Bingo one month, go bowling another and have dinner out in yet another month. However, not all three forms of amusement in one month's time. No cheating or defeating your purpose.

Realistically, this is but a light surface brush over the category of "other expenses," Go over your list and after much thought and discussion, hopefully you will agree to dispose of that which is simply "fluff," and just not necessary to still be content and comfortable.

Those nagging credit card payments have to be dealt with. With your remaining income balance, as in this case being $1775, decide whether to make a minimum payment, per card, or not. I bring this up because you do have the option now, to pay more than the minimum, thanks to the "savings" from what you have graciously decided to cut out for your own good. Whatever you choose to do, and where that brings your balance at this point, split that amount in two.....half for each of you.

The Challenge: That $100 I asked you to put aside from your monthly income before you did another thing? Let's get back to it. Mark an envelope or a box, Emergency Fund, and place the $100 in there. You can now challenge one another. Which one of you will have an amount of money leftover from your share of the balance you split evenly by next pay day?
Should you have perhaps, $30 and your spouse has $50( at the time of your next paycheck) both of you should be willing to add the lesser amount to your Emergency fund with your spouse, in this case, left with an extra $20 of "mad money." Yes, just a little game with an incentive,to add a bit of competition to this. I'll bet your spouse will split that mad money with you.

I have kept you long enough. You may be very tired of reading but I know you will thank me....later. Important: This is a mere basic introduction to the theory of Micro-managing your budget. Before you are able to get seriously into this feeling like an expert and breezing through month after month with ease....It will be a few months of focus and determination to get much more control of your finances and best of all, more money you get to keep.

The concept works. It is tried and true by many many couples over the years. As you can see, it's not difficult nor is it terribly painful. It is and will be very well-worth your attention and efforts. It is also tweakable to fit you and your lifestyle. Embrace the attitude.

I wish you luck and a beautiful, bountiful future.




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Comments 65 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 13 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

This is a nice Sunday to slip a bit of bragging into the mix.....MORE bragging, since I see that I made mention of my flawless driving record. LOL

I recently insisted on a new complete analysis of my "Insurance" situation. Home & Auto, since of course both are with the same agent. I make him work for his money.

Anyway, as a result, my Auto premium went down yet again (with maximum coverage.) Don't hate me, because I really do work at it. As I left the office, my agent laughed and said, "You realize that pretty soon WE'LL be paying you to let us insure you?" LOL. That would be something!

I can instruct anyone to get the very best Auto Insurance rates anywhere. Just ask me.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Techygran......There's more than enough reason to be uptight. I figure we all could stand to take a more relaxed approach and be a bit less "literal." Thanks so much for visiting.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Good advice, and pretty relaxed, accepting presentation from someone who advocates 'micromanagement'. Thank you!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks, John....Glad to hear from you.


MrJohnReynolds profile image

MrJohnReynolds 2 years ago from USA

Nice job very informative and helpful...


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

DINKS......Yes, for certain, Kathleen.....the one group of human beings I have always and will always envy....(too many reasons to mention at the moment!!).....I know many. Trust me.....they're all quite SMUG! LOL.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

You've written to DINKS - the richest people in the world, if only they realize it before their live changes! Good advice and look at all these comments. Somebody's listening.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Elizabeth.....Thanks so much for reading and your kind comment. I'm glad you agree with the importance of budgets, right from the start of an adult's life. Practice makes perfect....in this case, Practice makes $$$!


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 3 years ago from California

Paula, This is such a great hub with wonderful suggestions and tips for couples. If there is one thing I like, it's to be able to keep everything organized and under control. With following these tips, couples can make a great start in creating and maintaining an effective budget. Voted up + I U and shared on my blog. ♥---Lisa


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

banks...Yes, it can give us much more of a feeling of control....at least keep us on our toes.......I convinced 2 of my kids......and the other 2 are hopeless...except thanks Heaven..the women in their life have it covered!! LOL.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Paula, great common sense suggestions and information. Amazing how a budget gives people so much control over their lives. I have a tough time convincing my adult kids to do this.

Voted up, interesting, useful, and shared.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks Eddy.....There comes a time when we all have to squeeze every penny!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Interesting and so very useful.

Enjoy your day.

Eddy.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Sunshine! How did I move on past my SFAM???? I deserve a TIME OUT!! As far as "the kids" go....I preach so much, they plug their ears when I come around.....they'll be sorrrrrrr--eeeeee!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

well....I am pleased to hear from our resident finance wizard on this hub......Thank you !! I think my sister and I were literally "brain-washed," from childhood (in this case, a very good thing) about how to handle money very wisely. We learned common sense, self control and "substitution" so as not to feel always sacrificing.....We have always been most grateful to our parents (especially our Mom who was the chief money boss).....it becomes second nature, which is why I so strongly believe that it's so much about attitude. Again, I appreciate your comment...because you are the expert!...


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Balancing your own budget, and finding money for savings is important - so often we want to spend more because we think we deserve it. You're so right that we have to get self discipline and curb out spending. We can splurge, but we can't splurge on everything!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

unknown spy......It's true......We must be the guards and protectors of our own money, at all times.....and treat it like a good friend.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

your so right about these things. with tight economy and money right now, we have to look at the price tag of each things we purchase. i never buy coffee from starbucks..it's very expensive..can buy a kilo of rice with one cup of coffee :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Rosemary......I'll admit, it gets more and more difficult to fight with a budget......Let's face it, money is not made of rubber bands and it will only stretch so far. Sure, there are solutions and ways to help yourself, but what I clearly see happening in 2012, is that young people are throwing their hands up and thinking it's senseless to try.

Although I can surely understand their attitude, it is never senseless to TRY. Thanks Rosemary.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is a very useful hub Paula. I sort of learned from a young age to budget my money, but didn't always put it into practice. My grandmother used to have jars all lined up, one each for rent, insurance, electricity and so on. And on every pay day the first thing she did was to put what she need in the jars.

I remember quite a few years ago though when we were paid monthly, at the beginning of the month we lived like kings and at the end of the month we lived like beggars, I should have been budgeting like this then.

This is awesome especially for young couples just starting out.

Thumbs UP


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

T T....it's always EASY to spend money......fun too, most of the time......until the pockets are empty, the piggy bank's been busted open and the borrowing Peter to pay Paul, kicks in......Sometimes learning the hard way, when it comes to $$, is the best way. The one HUGE word to keep repeating and drumming into our head is "PROACTIVE." If you don't stay a good full lap ahead of your money, it WILL chew you up and spit you out.. Thanks for stopping by, TT....I've missed you!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Fantastic advice, Effer! Loved it! My parents tried to beat this into my brain but it was so much easier to spend my money on whatever I wanted. Yeah, I learned the hard way. :) Voted up and sharing!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Ruchira.....The fact is that we do learn a lot of our financial lessons from our parents.......making it either very simple to get on the right track..or terribly difficult to rid ourselves of bad habits we may have learned. Your Mom had her own system that worked well for her family...and as you have said, you learned from her. The main thing is that we at least work at it in some organized way. Money simply does not take care of itself!! Thanks, Ruchira


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Great pointers, Paula.

When my parents started off as a family, I remember she used to put money in different envelopes titled such as groceries, gas, electricity, misc. And then an envelope titled savings. Those were simpler days and I learnt a lot from those envelopes :)

voted up as useful and interesting.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks Pam......Keeping track of spending and looking at the clear, cut numbers right under our noses.....is so important....It's the blind, carefree spending that bites us!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I think this is excellent advice. Keeping records seems to really help and I started doing that a few years ago also. Things definitely improved after that time. You really wrote a very through hub that should help improve the financial status of anyone. Up and awesome.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Kathleen.....We don't always make the best of choices and decisions when young.....about much of anything! lol....but the good thing is that it's never too late! Thanks for stopping by. Good to hear from you.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Tammy.....lol...A kick in the pants is how we learn most everything, isn't it?? Yes, the "IF" we ever crawl out of this economic MESS...we'll ALL be more careful.

However, crazy as it is.....there will always be those who NEVER learn!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Very good advice and if only I'd started out observing it as a young adult! My favorite tip for saving is to transfer any money (no matter how little) left in my checking account on payday to my savings account. Then I start over with my budget with my new paycheck. Surprizing how fast that little bit grows and how much in inspires me to have something left over.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

This is great, practical advice Ms. P. Ten years ago I would not have read an article like this. I was so dumb about money. The economy was good, gas was cheap. I got a rude awakening when I got divorced, and a ruder kick in the pants with this recession. It can be hard to live within your means, but the School of Hard Knocks taught me well. :( Your suggestion to have an emergency fund is excellent. I think many of us will continue to live frugally even if the economy ever does recover. Excellent hub!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks Martie...Yes... there are those pitiful souls who will never ever learn how to handle money and their finances will always be a mess.......But, I believe, they don't WANT to learn......so, bless their meagerly hearts.! Thanks for visiting. Always so nice to hear from my South African princess.....now run and hug that cutey!!!! Bob? My youngest son is BOB...."Robert Neil"......love the name.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Now this 'model' is too familiar - my life style. Somewhere along the line I acquired the rule, 'if you can live without it you don't need it'.

What really shocks me is the luxuries real poor people buy with the money they get from church. There was a time I was involved in teaching and coasting of budget control. Time and again I was stunned to see how they forget a budget the minute they feel the money in their hands. Some cases were/are/will forever be completely lost.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom on Home Budgeting, fpherj! Voted up and ayoba :)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I'm happy to say that I have no debts -- my 12 year old car is fully paid for and so is our 30 year old house. But still, I don't have that emergency savings that you so wisely point out that we need. I'll get started on it using your tips. Voting this Up and Useful.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great minds thinking alike once again. Now if the kids would just take a hint! I think I should "write them a letter" :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Marsei....Hello! Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my site. You lived through Katrina...Bless your heart! I can only imagine what your insurance prem is...

Keeping a handle on impulse buying is such a wise move. None of us are fully aware of how small purchases add up, unless and until we trick ourselves into saving the money and counting it up at the end of 30 days.....It's just an ongoing struggle for we hard working people!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Til....I wouldn't have a single doubt that you can handle a household budget like a PRO, blindfolded & one hand tied! You've been in the business as long as I have....you were raised during the "ERA" and had the same generation Parents as me......You've got the smarts and the sense....No doubt Miss Tillie...you ran a tight ship!! LOL...thanks for the visit. Love it when you stop by!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Alastar, Of course I don't even know if you need a budget, but this plan works well for childless couples or singles. It's set up almost like a game and/or learning experience and is easily changed here and there to suit different lifestyles.......It really works if followed.....lol...like so many other things. DIETS, for another!! Only this is a money diet. Thank you for coming by, Alastar. Always enjoy hearing from one of my resident History teachers.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Nell....It's a game we play with ourselves. It sharpens our self-control, boosts our pride in our tenacity, helps us to REALIZE we will not die if we don't buy the box of candy or that red silk scarf....it's fun to get to the end of the month, to count what you saved by NOT buying....It's almost like a learning experience while saving. I hope you really do it.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

teaches....thanks so much for stopping by. Your comments are always welcome. I've started printing up this plan and giving it to all the "young couples," who I hear talking about living from one pay to the next and often being totally BROKE for days. Following this for a month, helps them to realize that they really won't DIE without some of the little things that add up....and will feel GREAT with even $20 till payday.....


Marsei profile image

Marsei 4 years ago from New Orleans

I thoroughly enjoyed this hub. Lots of good advice. I will not even say what the insurance on our house is because no one would believe it. After Katrina, insurance here went sky high and has never come down. It's almost worth moving if we didn't love it here so much. We are living on a budget, trying to pay off old business debts. One thing that has helped us more than any other is that we have stopped eating out, period. If we have friends come in town, of course, we take them out. Other than that, we only go out if one of us makes an unusual amount for the month and that's not happening a lot lately. Once you stop it, you don't miss it.

I've also stopped impulse buying. I did buy an area rug for $129 last month. It was the first nonessential I'd bought in so long, it was absolutely thrilling. Things mean so much more when you don't feel some underlying guilt about buying them!

Thanks again for the hub. It made me think about a lot of things I wasn't aware of and you presented it in a very organized and useful way. Voted up.

marsei


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

"Nor will I be dolling out any helpful tips about how to live in darkness, cold or starve to death." What a relief it was to read THAT sentence ;) GF you jumped into this subject with both feet and made it great. Anyone at any age can benefit from your advice but the newly married especially. As always, your humor goes along with this hub.

I've always used an envelope system as when I was working I got paid every two weeks. Labeled an envelope for every expense and when I got my paycheck cashed divyyed everything up as it should be so when the bills came the money was there.

If I may be so bold, don't know what state of car insurance you guys were discussing but I just got mine lowered by explaining we are both retired (it only took me 11 years...that's how long Larry's been retired) but you do get a discount because your mileage is lower.

So GF, as always, a great hub with great advice! Voted up, useful, awesome, and shared with my followers.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Dig your estate planning so well explained and easy to follow, well, one out of two ain't bad lol. It's not the idea, which is great, it's the implementation that's the sticker! No, in all seriousness Effer, this is the best Micro Manage plan I've seen yet, bar none- good going and thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I will do, and what a great idea! I'm in the money....! lol!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is such a valuable hub in helping to keep expenses in line. We always try to stick to our budget and add a little to savings at the end of the month. Great suggestions and ones that many will find very useful in saving money.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I happen to remember a great game my mother taught us.....She would carry an extra "empty" change purse in her handbag or pocket....and when out shopping, anytime she was "tempted" to buy some incidental, she said, "PRETEND" you've bought it, but instead, take the amount it cost and put that money in the change purse......do this for an entire month.

At the end of the month, count all the cash in the purse, and feel that GOOD feeling of pride, accomplishment and CASH in your hand....AND YOU DIDN'T MISS THE INCIDENTALS IN THE LEAST!!

I still will play this game with myself from time to time.....the last time I counted a month's worth of "pretend purchases," I raked in $122.59!.....and the best part was, I could barely remember what it was I was tempted to buy. Like you Nell, it may have been a coffee here a magazine there.....who knows?

The game works and we don't feel "derived" of anything. How could I feel badly with $122.59 in my hands?

Try it, Nell.....let me know what happens!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Being on a really low income these days I did learn the hard way, and as you mentioned its the little things that we forget to budget, for example the coffee shops, just buying stuff that's not needed, even something small such as a newspaper I tend to waste money, I read the first page then forget it! this is great, and so helpful, voted up! nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

OK, Jaye.....I'm following you. It's good you have your Insurances with the same Ins. company..AS LONG AS YOU KEEP ON YOUR AGENT TO GET YOU THE BEST DEALS. They don't do this, if the customer doesn't push. Why would they? More work for them.

I'm guessing that your Homeowner's went up due to a recent assessment, which of course, you have the right to appeal.

Every home owner in America is living in a home that has been devalued in terms of the "market." We constantly tell our clients, "If there's any way you can stay where you are and WAIT to sell your home....WAIT. This is no time to be taking a beating on the sale of your home. For 90% of middle America, this is their most valuable$$ asset. Other than children and they won't let us sell them.

Yes, Jaye....before you call your Agent, go online and find all you can on cheaper deals...then tell Mr. Agent, he needs to do the rest of the work for you. That's his job! I wouldn't dream of asking about your driving history! LOL.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

drbj.....Jaye asked me the same question....and it's clear I need to edit and change that figure to a more realistic average. I should not have used our Insurance, as a guide. Both my husband and I qualify for "substantial safe driver discounts,"....me, more than him...but without seeming like I'm BRAGGING again.....I just told Jaye, I am the proud carrier of a completely flawless 48 year driving record.....and now that I'm splattering this all over HubLand.....I'm sure I'll get a ticket a day for the next month...and 2 fender benders, both of which will be my fault! Great.

Add to that, Our Insurance Agent, smiles big every time he sees us.....ALL of our Insurances are through him( more discounts) and we make him work for his commission, believe me, in terms of digging until he finds the very best policies, for the lowest premiums. We also do not hesitate to CHANGE Ins Companies if we find something better!

After all, it's a highly competitive market, besides the ludicrous behaviors of Ins Co's that will DROP you like a hot potato for any reason they like! There should be no love lost between a consumer and their Insurance company. It's bully against bully.

Bottom line? I need to change that figure in my hub. Thanks!!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

No BMW, but I'm paying too much for car insurance. The same company provides my homeowner's insurance, and the premium went up this year even though my home's value went down with the housing market. I think it's time to get quotes from other companies for both car and homeowner's policies, don't you.

By the way, I'm incredibly envious of your 48-year perfect license record. (No...don't ask.)

Jaye


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Lots of great advice in this hub....some of these items are already done at my house....as we already do a balanced billing program on most of our bills like gas and power....plus we keep all of our receipts. One of the items we fail at....is the 100 dollars to put aside...it seems we always come up with a reason to spend that money.

I enjoyed reading your latest hub....and I greatly appreciate all the effort you put into the hub....your hard work paid off very nicely.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Great savings tips, effer, but your auto insurance is on the low side compared to mine. Who's your insurer, pray tell?


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jaye....You know, I actually used our auto Ins premium as an example here....breaking it down to $48 per mo. per driver=$96 x 12 mos. = $1152 per year. Why does that sound LOW to you?

Just curious, how much comparison shopping have you done for auto Ins? Did you try going through AARP or your Credit Union (if you are a customer of one) I'll admit ours may be lower than most, only because I have a 48 year flawless license..ok....sounds like I'm bragging, it's just a fact...48 years..no citations of any kind, moving or otherwise and no accidents. If I was insured on my own, I'd pay about $500 per year for complete FULL coverage with all the lowest deductibles...but we have 2 vehicles in both our names, which we both drive..etc etc...

Anyway...getting back to you. Maybe you're paying way too much, Jaye. Might be worth looking into......Do you drive a brand new BMW???


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Yes...it's actually designed for the newly married, new home-owner...just learning to juggle the cash....couples!! It's a good plan for them to focus on and practice....it has to start somewhere...the sooner the better!

Thanks for the visit. Good to see you!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

OK.....Oops....my comment above is for Sunshine......I don't know how it got so far away from her!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I am there with you 100%! I keep sending my kids the plans for my "suite" which each of them will be ordered to build on to their homes, so the GRAND QUEEN, Gram Dawg, may visit each one for 3 months apiece....all year round...over and over......So, far, I don't believe any of them have hired a contractor. Think I should send a THREAT now??? This ain't no game I'm playin here, boys!!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Sis...and you are absolutely right, thinking this can and will apply to you. It's only the first couple of months that requires some time and calculating.....to get to your own specific plan, based on the concept. Honestly, if you actually do this and get into a good habit, it's amazing how quickly you get on track, get your bills paid, credit cards paid off and stash an emergency fund. Doesn't happen overnight, but the only thing that does is a good night's sleep, if we're lucky!!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

My Dear -- this is a plan and a good one. As an old lady on a fixed income I have to get very creative with my budget -- and your suggestions will apply to me, too -- just not on quite so grand a scale. Super Hub! Best/Sis


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Awesome tips with some humor sprinkled in! Every month my husband & I say we are going to do this and every month we don't. Everything is so automatic these days. Voted up!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

Excellent advice, Paula, with great detail. Now, I just have one question. Which insurance company do I call to get that $48-per-month deal for car insurance? : )

Jaye


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

you know F.. as I was reading this I thought to myself what a wonderful guide for young married people.. it makes sense.. and it's so useful what a great hub


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Excellent advice Effer! I'm still not giving up my toys and gadgets. I considered saving for my future, but I have a different plan. My kids are my retirement. The plan was/is to get them through college and to be successful and they will support me. So far so good, my son-in-law is a genius and on a mission to be the next Steve Jobs. Woot! Oh and to win the lotto too! Woohoo!! :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

JustMike....No one is more aware of these probabilities than I. Even in my own family and circle of friends, there are the stubborn, who wait to learn these valuable lessons, the hardest way.

In any event, I feel it is important to at least arm couples with the information, facts and the proven results. Yes, everyone chooses for themselves, in their own time......which is why I am sure there are those who accept and those who reject.

Thanks so much for visiting my site and for your wise comment.


JustMike profile image

JustMike 4 years ago

This is very good advice. You can give the advice but expect few to take it. Just the ones you are really ready to hear it. Then you have the couples who one of them is a spender and one is a saver or something to that effect so for everyone it is different. So it is easy if you set your mind to it but for everyone it just comes at a different time.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Gosh, bill...you are quick. I can't tell you how many young couples I have given this little talk to, complete with advice and suggestions......but I can tell you that the ones who listened and HEARD and went for the win, have thanked me a hundred times over. Bottom line? What wise old coots like us know, is that this is no big secret or mystery. COMMON SENSE...however, it often needs to be jiggled to the top!!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Yes indeed it works; I've been doing this for years now and it's the only way to live. Yes, it is painful for some, but like you said, we find out what their attitude is real fast. One either gets serious about this or one sinks in a steady pull of quicksand.

Hopefully others will follow your sage advice oh Wise One!

Have a great weekend Paula!

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