Let’s face it: no one wants to be told how to spend their own money. After all, it belongs to you. You worked hard for it. I completely understand.


With that said, not everyone is gifted in healthy money management. What may be a temptation to spend for one person may not be the same for someone else. Two people may have the exact same income, but live two completely different lifestyles. The spending habits of an individual who is single with no children may not be ideal for someone married and has a toddler.


In order to develop a realistic budget that you can abide by, there are a few fundamentals one must first understand.



Here’s a secret: “need” and “want” are NOT synonyms. They’re not even close. Consider the following:


You need food. . .but you want to have dinner at fancy restaurant with your friends.

You need shoes. . .but you want an expensive pair of Adidas/Vans/etc.

You need a home. . .but you want to rent a deluxe, beachside, condo in Miami. 


The key is prioritization: understanding and giving attention to important things first. In the case of finances, necessities are important and come first; the things you need. Don’t get me wrong, a fresh pair of sneakers, a deluxe condo, and a gourmet dinner are all nice things that anyone would want for themselves. But if these aren’t things you can afford or live comfortably without financial strain, they’re not a good choice.


Even if your salary is high enough, there may be a certain number of necessities that your income must tend to first, which can still leave you with less money to spend on the things you want. Which brings us to the next subject.



Your salary or pay stub shows how much money you make each month, but do you know how much of it you have to spend each month? The best thing to do before spending money on extra things is to analyze the amount that must be reserved for expenses. Make a detailed list of all of your bills for the month and add them together for a total. Here’s an example:


  • Rent/mortgage: $800
  • Utilities
    • Electricity: $50
    • Water: $40
    • Cable/Internet: $60
  • Car loan: $280
  • Car insurance: $100
  • Gas: $150
  • Cell Phone: $70
  • Medical Insurance: $150
  • Home/renters insurance: $30
  • Groceries: $250

TOTAL:  $1,980


Now, subtract that total from how much you make each month. Let’s say you make $1,500 each pay period and have two pay periods per month. Your total monthly income would be $3,000.


Subtract your total monthly expenses from your total monthly income: $3,000-$1,980= $1,010


So you have an estimated $1,000 left over to spend per month, which is about $250 per week (considering four weeks in a month). If you’re buying lunch every day during the work week, which is about $10 to $20 per day, five days a week, you’re already spending nearly $100 of the $250 per week on food alone, and that’s not including weekends.   


This is why it’s imperative to pay attention to where your money is going, which takes us to the last principle.



This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget how much money you’ve spent. We live in a consumer-driven society where everything we see, from billboards to commercials and even Instagram posts, are convincing us that are lives are miserable without their products and if we don’t buy their products we’ll remain unhappy.

Don’t fall for it.

The only thing that will make you unhappy in this scenario is your debit card getting declined at the register, or finding yourself knee-deep in debt.


The easiest and most effective way (in my opinion), of tracking your spending is writing it down. You can easily use a basic notebook or binder to update every evening and keep your receipts inside for reference. I’ve created a budget tracker that helps me stay organized each month. You can download it, for free, here.


I manually budget and track my finances bi-weekly using my Budget Journal.


There are also helpful apps and online tools available that do the same thing digitally, such as Mint. Whichever works best for you. Personally, I prefer writing things down so that I don’t have to depend on my phone or the internet for everything.

Keep in mind, we didn’t account for other forms of debt, such as a credit card bill or student loans, in the example expense list. Ignoring and not paying off those types of debt can do a load of damage to your credit, which is a big no-no. (You can learn more about the dangers of bad credit in another post.) For now, take advantage of budgeting apps and make a healthy habit of saving receipts. Writing down everything you spend may not be easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see it was well worth it.

In the beginning….you had money.

You received the paycheck (or direct deposit), saw that everything added up correctly, and deemed it good.

And then you said “Let me buy this, that, and the other.” And before you knew it, there wasn’t enough left for necessities.

Stress and debt followed, and it became a pattern, then a lifestyle. And now…you’re stuck.


Living paycheck to paycheck is not a life you want to live. No one should have to wait for their next source of income before making a financial decision. A lack of sufficient funds has 10% to do with your income and 90% to do with your lifestyle and mentality. Being rich isn’t an immunity to bad spending habits. Many famous and wealthy people have splurged beyond their means, resulting in debt or filing for bankruptcy. Those who successfully managed their wealth wisely invested in financial advisors.


If you suffer from the I-don’t-know-where-my-money-went syndrome (be honest with yourself), you mostly identify with one of two reasons below:

  1. Living beyond your means (spending more money than you make)
  2. Having accumulated debt from student loans, hospital bills, car problems, or other circumstances that put you in a financial bind quicker than the average person can pay back


Whether you deal with #1, #2, or both, a budget will save your life. Waiting on your next paycheck to buy things you need or constantly needing to borrow money from someone is not the type of life you want to live.


You have to get serious about your finances. I repeat: Get SERIOUS about your money.

And the best way to do so is to change the way you think.


Budget savviness is a mindset. Living within your means is a discipline. It’s not a one quick fix or an overnight miracle. It takes strategy, patience (especially with yourself), trial and error, and most importantly, dedication.

definition of financial literacy


The secret is to do what the wise do: invest in financial advisors. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.



This website is your financial advisor. This is where you can come, any day of the week, any time of the day, to receive what you need to overcome debt and regain control over your money:

  • Tips and money advice
  • Budgeting tools & guidance
  • Inspiring stories from everyday people who’ve successfully reached financial freedom
  • Interviews & insight from financial experts
  • Reviews on products & price comparisons before you purchase
  • And much MORE


The best part is. . .it’s all FREE.


You shouldn’t have to spend more money to learn how to spend less money (because that’s complete nonsense).


No more “I’m going to show you how” posts by bloggers who say they’ll show you everything, step-by-step, but in the end give no real explanation and request that you purchase what they’re selling to receive “all the secrets.”


No unrealistic expectations.

No more gimmicks.

No wasting your time.  


I’m tackling my debt and building my savings the old fashion way: researching and reading about proper money management, cutting back on spending, and living on less than half of my income. If you’re here, it means you’re ready to do the same.

So, join me. Let’s do it together. Your debt free journey begins now.