Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate


Can You Survive On $60 Per Month?

Many of you don't know that I was a starving artist before being in real estate.

Well...not exactly starving, but I really knew how to hang onto my money. I paid cash for EVERYTHING.

If I saw something in the store I wanted I gave it a 3 day wait period to see if I REALLY needed it. If I was still dying for it I found a way to come up with the cash.

I also used many coupons to buy things. I am researching now to do that again. It's sort of like a game to see what you can get for almost free.

Here's Michael's post on how he survives on only $60 a month! 

I'm going to share a secret with you - my allowance is $60 per month.  That's right - $60 dollars to spend on dinning out, movies, coffee, and anything else I may want to treat myself to.

I wasn't always this frugal. In fact, my family can overspend with the best of them!  Fortunately my wife and I decided to stop the crazy spending and put ourselves on a financial diet.

Should your allowance be $60?  Well that depends.  If you are putting 10% of  your gross income into savings every month and have no credit card debt I'd say you could probably bump that figure up.  If, on the other hand, you have less than 3 months worth of your income sitting in your regular savings account for emergencies, have any credit card balances, or are saving less than 10% of your gross income I'd suggest your number should be less than $60 until you can achieve those three benchmarks.

So how exactly do you get yourself on such a financial diet and then maintain? It's called "CASH ONLY." 

For all your personal expenditures you must pay with cash from your wallet or pocket book.  The amount of your allowance is not the critical part of this diet, it is the use of cash that is key.  Having a finite amount of paper in your pocketbook that you can see every time you reach for some more is the only way to reign in the spending.  

Pay yourself the allowance on the first of every month and then have fun!  Of course, when the cash runs out you are done for that month.  No reaching for the debit or credit card when you run out mid-month.  No cash, no play!

We implemented this for our entire family, including our 13 year old and 10 year old.  It's amazing the choices each individual will make when it is THEIR allowance on the line. There will be times that we drive through McDonalds' because one person wants to waste their money on some fries and the rest of us will not order anything and wait to get home to snack.

For each of the last 6 months I've managed to spend $20 or LESS of my allowance.  

My passion is my involvement with Spokane County Search and Rescue, so I put away $40 per month to buy my SAR toys (!).  I never realized I could be THIS frugal until I  had a finite amount of cash in my pocket.




How low do you think you could get your allowance to?

Comment balloon 58 commentsLizette Fitzpatrick • October 16 2008 10:07AM


You know we have been kicking around ways to economize.    Thanks for all the ideas.   I just need a kick to get started!    

Posted by Connie King about 10 years ago


Used to do that thirty years ago. Take about $20.00 per paycheck. But I do not want to do that anymore. I am old enough now to be able to have a bit easier time that way, and the wife are doing so.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Wow economizing, I use to many years ago. Today its different, I do not put a dollar amount, its more like do I really need it. How  many toys can a grown man have. 

On a personal note, why the pic with the sunglasses Lizette. You look like your deep, deep, deep, undercover agent. Hey just asking, no big deal.



                         ~ All the Best             

Posted by Roy A. Peterson, P.R.E.I. (Domicile Analysis of Texas) about 10 years ago

Lizette, Great Blog but I would never make it on $60 a month,, I have 3 Grandchildren and probably spend more like $60 a week or more,,, on McDonalds, Pizza, toys, whatever they want when Granny has them, one , two, or all three. granny,hunter,kyle,macie How do you say No? Still Great Blog and gives me something to think about. I think we all are going to have to start thinking about spending less for sure!! Barbara

Posted by Barbara Flannery, "Homes for Everyone In London Kentucky" (USA Realty,Inc.) about 10 years ago

I only have to feed myself and my cat and for that I am thankful! Not sure how things will evolve for me, but I am getting into a few other things to help me survive.  Will send link to new website soon.

Like your new picture!

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing about 10 years ago

Hi Lizette,

Not sure I could live on $60.00 per month but the thought sounds like a challenge. Like you I pay cash for everything, if I really want it then I'll buy it but only if its on sale. :)

Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) about 10 years ago

This is a great blog post considering the current state of the economy and the current trend to live beyond your means.

It's good to set a little money aside each month for "fun" money and it doesn't have to be alot - remember the Rachel Ray show where she was given a small amount of money to spend on meals?  If you have that fun money available it's easier to save and spend wisely.

Posted by Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team (RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs) about 10 years ago

Credit cards can be a debtor's prison.  I agree if you don't have cash you don't need it.

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) about 10 years ago

It is time to get back to having an allowance and learning not to overspend.  It seems that the younger people I work with want it all NOW!  Charge charge charge!  Maybe this economic crisis will have a sliver lining and get people to budget and learn to save.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 10 years ago

Hi Lizette~I just watched a show on TV about saving coupons and showed how a woman paid thirty some dollars on a grocery bill of over $120,  she gets coupons on line and also clips coupons from the Sunday paper.  I agree with most here the importance of spending wisely. 

I'm not sure if I could survive on $60 a month,  you have encouraged me I think I'll give it a try.  Cash only,  and I love your 3 day wait period to see if it actually is a need. Very timely post.

Posted by Sue Berger, Gladwin MI about 10 years ago

Lizette - with all the negative news about the economy I think everyone is (or should) be thinking along these lines.  pippa

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) about 10 years ago

Some very good points made for all of us to think about.

Thanks for taking the tome to write it.

Posted by Richard Lecinski (Long Realty Company) about 10 years ago

Some very good points made for all of us to think about.

Thanks for taking the tome to write it.

Posted by Richard Lecinski (Long Realty Company) about 10 years ago

I agree in theory but years ago I switched from "cash only" to mostly reward card purchases.  These days I toss nearly every expense on the credit card but I always pay it off each month.  Cash or Credit doesn't really matter as long as you have the willpower to control needless spending.

Posted by No Longer Active (Real Estate) about 10 years ago

how about $60 per day. no way could I do $60 per month. I agree with the cash theory but I will not live at poverty level while trying to get to the next higher level.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) about 10 years ago

Lizette~  I think the only good thing that is going to come out of this troubled economy is that people will be forced to live within their means and quit trying to keep up with the Jones's.  I use my credit cards, but they never carry a balance.  If I can't pay for something that month, I just don't buy it, period!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) about 10 years ago

What a great way to challenge oneselve, hey we could come up with an AR contest, least spent for the month gets 1000 points!

Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Unfortunately, from speaking with many of my friends around the country, I think this may be a necessity for too many Americans soon.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 10 years ago

I could really stand to be more thrifty...

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) about 10 years ago

It would be wonderful if I could live on $60 a month... But I think for some people that is just impossible... But that is some good info that everybody should take in to consideration...

Posted by Patt M. Judd, Realtor - Your Cookeville Connection (First Realty Company) about 10 years ago

$60 no way, that less than $2 a day. Are there days you go hungry. I spend that getting to the mall.

Posted by Charles Stallions Real Estate Services, Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc) about 10 years ago

How the heck do you live on $60/mo when gas costs about that much per week, depending on how much you drive and what kind of car you drive...are you talking just fun money? And are you allotting extra money for groceries,  the car (which you need to work, right?), etc...

Posted by Sonja Adams (Samson Proprties) about 10 years ago

Great Blog.  I am a queen at being frugal and watching my money.  I watch every penny.  I never overspend when I am on a budget and right now, who knows when I will be paid again so I am keeping things very tight.  Tough, though, when you have a baby...diapers and wipes aren't cheap.

Posted by Portsmouth NH Real Estate Agent - Rebecca Skane, Realtor®, e-PRO® (Keller Williams Coastal Realty) about 10 years ago

This was a fantastic and very timely post considering our current economic outlook. Spend wisely.


Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY (WJK Realty) about 10 years ago

Hi Lizette, Great reblog from Michael.. I truly would love to get a lot more thrifty ---- although I cannot control others in my household ;-)  But it is important to give, save and pay down debt.  God bless,

Posted by No Longer Active in Staging. No Longer Staging about 10 years ago

cash is a great decision maker . nice blog. give yourself a raise to $65

Posted by Ron Wysocarski, CEO, Pricing Specialist (Wyse Home Team Realty) about 10 years ago


My wife relies on me to be the frugal one.  I am the nay sayer as far as large expenditures and going out.  I hate to finance extra's so I don't

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) about 10 years ago

Great if you can do it but my dogfood bill is $120 a month.

Posted by Richard Halpern (Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT) about 10 years ago

I'm not putting my next commission check in my low interest savings account. I'm paying my car off!

Posted by Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Relentless, Reliable, Premier Personal Service (Evenson/Fisher Group-Revelation Realty) about 10 years ago

Lizette, I have become the queen of coupons in our household. Last Saturday my husband swears the lady behind me in the checkout line almost had a heart attack when she heard the clerk say that I saved over $75 dollars with coupons and had a remaining total bill of $70.89.  It is a game... now that I've passed 50% of my bill I'm working on 55-60%. Frugal can be fun and we eat really well.

Posted by Cat Zwicker, CRS, Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results! (Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC) about 10 years ago

That's an interesting post. It makes sence, but for some reason I am the opposite. When I have cash I spend it. So I decided to not cary cash around and my spending went down.

Posted by Nelya Calev (John L Scott) about 10 years ago

Recently had to the same due to hubby losing his job. It's somewhat exhilarating to cut up the credit cards and only pay cash. We really think through everything we buy now. Things that we dont buy are as simple as sodas for the kids. Or bottled water. Our food bill was cut in half and I started baking again!

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Barrington Realty Company) about 10 years ago

Wow a feature on a reblog. Never seen this before. But it is a great post. Cash is the best way to go. And having a budget for eating out is too. I see my kids spend so much on eating out when I have food here. Makes me sick, but they will learn.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 10 years ago

Wow - $60 doesn't even cover a Starbucks addiction.  Kudos to you and your family.  It's an interesting thought and I just may have to implement this!

Tina in Virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt, Virginia Real Estate (Nest Realty) about 10 years ago

I have also found that only spending cash has helped me save some money. I recently placed myself on a tight budget as well. 

Posted by Robert W. Bowen (Equity Real Estate) about 10 years ago

I can remember in the last down turn market in the early 90's I swear I could keep the same $20.00 bill in my wallet for two weeks?  Wonder how I did that?  I too pay cash for everything.  Love the debit checkcard invention. 

Posted by Audrey June-Forshey, GRI, Gaithersburg, MD (RE/MAX Realty Services) about 10 years ago

Great blog!  We all need to do a personal inventory from time to time and rebudget ourselves.  It would blow your mind if you knew what I could live off of!  I grew up in some really tough times in the 70's and it taught me the difference between "wants" and "needs." 

Posted by Celina Gleason (AgentOwned Realty) about 10 years ago

I like the three day wait period idea.  So many times a purchase is simply filling an emotional want, instead of a real need.

Posted by Teresa Cox King, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama (RE/MAX of Orange Beach) about 10 years ago

In my family, we call this blow money.  We do it on $80/month. Once the money is gone, no more spending until the next month.  We learned this system via Dave Ramsey who operates on the principle of living below your means and has some great steps on getting debt free.  We still use the envelop system too.  It wasn't easy, but it's a great feeling to be debt free. No car payments, no student loans, no 2nd mortgage.  I would love for you to join and post this to Dave Ramsey Fans group.  Others can visit and get some great info on the 7 baby steps to Financial Freedom.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) about 10 years ago

Everyone has to economize and look at ways to save money - or re-allocate it. We have cut back and reallocated.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 10 years ago

I am as tight as they get.  I can squeeze a nickle out of a penny, IF I really want to. I go through spurts...spend, save, spend, save. Luckily, more saving than spending.  I have made taught my daughter that half of everything she gets, (gifts, allowance, etc.), goes in her savings.  I've been doing that since she was small...I also have her help me shop for needy children at x-mas.  Helps her realize we all don't live in an "easy come, easy go" society. 

I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan....duh, right? :)


Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) about 10 years ago


Thanks for all the fabulous comments!

I had no idea a reblog could be a feature.

Keep posting all the good ideas for us to save money.




Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) about 10 years ago

Sounds like a challenge....I'd have to bump it up to at least $150...

Posted by Winter Baserva, Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA (Seasons Realty Group of Solid Source Realty, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Lizette - I can remember when my entertainment consisted of a library card.  I must have read 300 books during that time ;-)

The funny thing was when I started making money after that, I would get melancholy.  I had this preconceived idea that money would make me happy, but it didn't.  I already had the things during my "library card" years that made me happy. . .My family, my friends, my health.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 10 years ago

I thought this would be about a starving realtor only spending $60 a month LOL!  Interesting point, but no thanks.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 10 years ago

I am guessing $60 is AFTER all the living expenses.... That I can do. All my money goes to living and company....

Posted by Cindy Lin (Staged4more Home Staging & Designs // EcoJoe) about 10 years ago

This is really good advice!  It is actually the way I used to live before they invented credit cards!  Yes, I'm from the stone age.  Maybe we should all return there.  No more Starbucks that's for sure.


Posted by Kristal Kraft, Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022 (The Berkshire Group Realtors) about 10 years ago

Instead of spending your valuable time in trying to figure out how to save money, consider how to make money.  If you time is worth $1 a minute, how much time are you spending saving $100.  Now, how much time are you spending trying to make $1000.  Really, really think about that.  Most people put an enormous amount of time saving money and lose site in making money.  There should be a portion of your time in saving money, but most of your time should be in making money.

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

I don't do McDonalds, but could not last on $60.  My gas tank holds a lot more than that.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Hmm... not quite the starving artist, eh? Very interesting, indeed. Very cool post, BTW (LOL). :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 10 years ago

$60 a month sounds nominal, but I think it's possible depending on what's included.  I think it's definitely worth a thought.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 10 years ago

Wow, that's admirable. I have been so spoiled, that I won't know how to. If one has to, I am sure there's a way.  I don't have cable or TV for over a year.  That saves us about $80 a month. I still love to read newspapers, so I subscribe to that. We get on the Internet for news and subscribe to Netflix for movies, Well, these two subscriptions alone are costing me almost $30 a month, so perhaps I should starve a little.

Posted by Sherry Peckhoon Sim, Broker/Owner, Covering the Beautiful Central Coast (Sims & Company) about 10 years ago

This post is a great idea in theory but I love to shop too much.  It is a hobby and makes me happy, and although I am a wonderful sale shopper, I still don't think I could handle $60 a month...especially since I'm not much of a cook so we eat out a lot.  The way I see it, I am helping the economy!  Thanks for posting!  Maybe it will help curb my spending at the least.

Posted by Jenn Neumann Deer, Surfside Beach Real Estate (RE/MAX Southern Shores) about 10 years ago

Lezette, Your title hooked me.  I immediately thought 'duh, no way.' Glad I went ahead and read.  My husband and I have both been very guilty of whining lately about the economic situation in America and in our house, but the truth is, we're pretty spoiled.  Conspicuous Consumption is a term written for our lifestyle sometimes.  I am really working on getting spending under control and am very grateful for your very timely article.  Thanks.

Posted by Marian Goetzinger, Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) about 10 years ago

Randy-$60 is a nominal amount. The idea as I understand what Lizette is explaining is an allowance for those extras. The things you blow money on every month but are unplanned expenses.  Like Starbucks stops, Mountain Dew breaks, drive throughs on the go.  For the coffee junkie like myself, if you go to Starbucks Monday through Friday at $5 a pop, in a year, you'll spend upwards of $1300 a year.  Now, we grind our own beans and make coffee before we leave the house. Or if you eat out every day for lunch at a conservative $8 a meal, that would be over $2000 in a year.  The idea of restricting yourself to an allowance is to curb the extras.  It's amazing how money will seem to "get away" from you when you let it.  Tell your money where to go and it will go further.  

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) about 10 years ago

This is a great post! I can't say that I live on $60 a month, but I am very frugal with my money. Coupons, yard sales, flea markets and clearance sales are how I shop. It's very rewarding when you have so many coupons at the checkout line - that the cashier owes you money!! It happens!

Posted by Melissa Sall, Realtor ~ Belmont County ~ Ohio (Sulek & Dutton Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Hi Lizette,

Good post has a girl thinking! I am pretty good with my money, I am going to try this out. I don't spend a lot of money anyway.

I also wanted to tell you after reading your post about Being kinder than necessary........., I have seen that quote on so many things and had you not done a post on it I would have probably read it and thought that is a nice quote and probably so true. But with you having posted about it, it kind of hits home a little more.

Posted by Trace Galle (Designs by Trace) about 10 years ago

I was thinking about this post and everyone that commented.


I was determined to save money even though

I had been invited to the Keeneland racetrack today.

I ate lunch(yummy chili) at home before I went. That saved money right from the start. I had a coupon to get in free. My friend had a free box on the rail near the finish line. Only took pictures and didn't bet on the horses. I'm not much of a gambler.

Ohhh...I had a bottle of chilled water in my bag from home, so I din't need to buy a drink. All I was out was some gas money to get there and back. Had a great time and enjoyed a beautiful day.  

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) about 10 years ago

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