– If money is scarce, what are the most important things to buy?  That’s easy; #1 is FOOD.  #2 is lights/water/heat (utilities).  #3 is Rent/Mortgage.  #4 is basic transportation.  If you have those things you can live to fight another day.  Notice, nowhere on that list is debt payments.  If you have to choose between basic needs and debt payments, your family’s health comes before your credit’s health, every time.

– Recommended percentages can be helpful for making a budget, but these percentages get skewed as you move up the income ladder.  For instance, let’s say 5-15% of your income should go towards food – a reasonable amount.  But what if you and your spouse make $160,000/year?  If you spent 15% of your income on food, you’d be spending $24,000/year, $2000 each month!

– Car maintenance is not an emergency.  Property tax on your vehicle is not an emergency.  Vehicle registration is not an emergency.  Oil changes are not emergencies.  Car washes are not emergencies.  Heavy travel months are rarely emergencies.  We all know it costs money to own and operate a vehicle, so we need to build those costs into our budgets.