$500 is less than 1% of the average income in Utah and in the United States. And, the scary fact is: 6 in 10 Americans don’t have that amount available in their savings account.

The average cost for replacing a fuel pump is $400. Unless you can install it yourself, it will be more.

It takes 3 weeks, after applying, for unemployment benefits starts. That means, 3 weeks with no paycheck.

Americans have to pay an average of $1300 in medical expenses before insurance kicks in. A broken arm will require all of that in one lump sum.

Are you ready?

These aren’t zombie-apocalypse or meteors coming for the earth type of events. Any of this, or a million alternatives, could happen tomorrow.

In college, I studied and learned about family and consumer finances. I taught and still teach community workshops, after-school programs, inmate classes, and individual counseling sessions. There are simple principles that apply to all of those groups and people because the principles of savings and spending don’t change.

4 Simple Principles of Simple Finances

First, you have to accept your basic responsibility for your situation.

Second, you must consciously define your living standards.

Third, you must accept the fact that it is not impossible to live on less than you earn.

Last, you have to get to work.

Accept Responsibility for Your Situation

Many people blame themselves, spouses, and others for failures and problems of their own making. Without the knowledge and understanding that they can and do shape their own circumstances, many people try to avoid even the most basic responsibility for their situation.

It is in your control whether your money management gives you security and peace of mind or stress and heartache.

Define Your Living Standards

By defining your living standards, you can take the biggest step towards successful money management. Assuming or presuming that certain lifestyles can or should be maintained, when in fact, they are unsupportable will sabotage your efforts in improving your financial situation. Take a few minutes and fill out the Living Standards Worksheet PDF to define or set goals for yourself. If you are married, fill this out with your spouse.

People tend to better support things which they help create. Work together to develop the living standards you wish to establish or achieve. Joint efforts in family finances will keep them from playing a role in determining the success of your marriage.

Live on Less Than You Earn

A common trait in people and in businesses that are effective in money management is this: They discipline themselves as much or as little as necessary to meet the standards they have accepted as adequate, whether they have clearly defined them or not.

If you are having a hard time making ends meet, examine your living standards closely.

If you are getting by but might do better, look at your living standards and see where you might be able to improve.

Get to Work

You can find all kinds of methods and systems to manage your money. There are books and articles all over the place with the “best tips.” All of that has its own value. But none of it works unless you do.

Brainstorm how you might save more or spend less. Fill out the Living Standards Worksheet to help define where you wish to be. Don’t just decide to start now. Start now.

What time is your spouse available to talk about living standards?

Where are you going to put the $1 bills you want to stash away?

Put the grocery savings card on your key chain right now.

Whatever your goal is, turn this off and go do it!

I know you can!

p.s. I read that if you keep your gas tank at least 1/8 or more full, all the time, the fuel pump will last the whole life of your car.

PAYMASTER is a money management system with a unique approach to help you make the most of your paycheck. Proving successful for over 30 years, PAYMASTER will become a source of security and confidence and you will become addicted to its simplicity and success!  PAYMASTER was originally published in 1983 by Larry Hansen. An updated version will be available from Fruitland Home Spring 2017.

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