Cheapskate Principle #1 Spend Less Than You Make. This principle is the heart of financial life. We see many people breaking this principle everyday. Believe it or not, it is the principle I'm having a hard time with right now. If an emergency came up, I would just whip out the credit cards and take care of the problem. I will just pay for it later. I was the federal government and my family was the banks and insurance companies. They were in trouble and I was bailing them out of it without regard of the costs. My kids want a dog- no problem. I will pay for the vet bills if they happen.
Many times we violate this principle when we have two in the family spending the money. An example will be when the husband pays the bills on the computer and the wife needs to buy groceries. She just uses the debit card and brings home the bacon. She gives her husband the receipt to enter into the computer software. She has spent more than the husband has available after paying the bills. Technology is great, but communication is better. My suggestion to solve this problem is go back to cash for groceries. If the cash is out of the bank account, then the one who does the online bill pay won't spend the money that is not there and groceries are still taken care of and the family can eat.
The greatest way to make this principle work is get on a budget. Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial have great stuff online to help. They also have percentages for typical family sizes. Remember though, it is for typical families and I haven't met one of those yet in my life. Use the percentages for ballpark figures and not absolutes.