Save 50% of Your Income in ONE WEEK!

How to Save 50% on Your Budget

Recently, Johnny and I were contacted by a talk show in LA to be possible guests on a segment about money-saving tips. A producer from the show wanted to get on Skype with us and chat about our “area of expertise.” We went back and forth on how to respond to the email. “Umm, no, sorry, TV’s not really our thing,” or “Yes, you’ll enjoy the free publicity after one of us face plants on a wire during the segment and the clip goes viral.” But ultimately, we decided to carpe the diem and agreed to the call.

Before our video chat, Johnny and I sat down together and decided to figure out what our “expertise” actually is. My knee-jerk response was “budgeting.” We divulge our monthly budget. We think everything starts with having a budget and that nothing else really matters if you don’t have a budget. But Johnny stopped me dead in my budgeting-rant tracks and said, “No, Jo. She won’t want to hear about that. She’ll want simple, clear, quick tips for saving money.” Duh, of course he was right.

So we talked over some of our favorite tips that were quick, easy, and kinda interesting to explain and then both hopped on the Skype call.

We exchanged “Hello’s” and introductions and then the producer got right down to business and asked us, “What are your go-to money saving tips?” So we started explaining some of our money-saving go-to’s:

She listened for a few minutes and then stopped us. “Those are interesting, but do you have any big saving wins or tips? Things people can do to save, like, 50% of their budget? More specific numbers or percentages? Like doing this will save you X% each month? See what I’m saying?”

We saw exactly what she was saying. And she’d gotten on the call with the wrong people. We tried to work with her and give her more specifics:

But these weren’t very sensational. And it was clear these weren’t what she was looking for either. She wanted extreme, and we simply weren’t (and will never be) those people. In fact, we kinda pride ourselves on being mostly normal-ish (those of you snickering, quiet). The call ended soon after, and Johnny and I knew we hadn’t sparked her fancy. She’d said something like, “We’ll be in touch down the road.” before signing off.

We both walked away a bit dazed and confused. Within a few minutes, our brains started working again and started putting the pieces together. The nice producer had her marching orders to find the extreme, outrageous, bizarre, crazy ways to cut down on spending. And it’s not because those are the most effective tips, but because that’s what sells. She was tasked with finding tips that sizzled, not necessarily advice on how to change one’s mindset about money or making long-term changes or sticking to a budget. Because let’s face it — that’s boring. And oftentimes realllly, realllly hard. And not exciting enough. And not immediately gratifying for a generation (including us) who scoffs at any shipments that don’t arrive in two days or less.

Here’s the truth. There’s no quick fix or magic rule that will turn your finances around. It takes time, hard work, sacrifice, and lots of and lots of good ol’ budgeting. And budgeting would make a TERRIBLE infomercial.

Now you see that number over here under the Clothing category? Watch how quickly it changes from $150 to $0 with one innocent trip to Target. WHAMMO!

The truth about saving money is that it’s not all that sexy — like, at all. I wish that’s what talk shows told people. To that end, I wish that’s what people wanted to hear. But it’s not. And that bums us out because those boring things are the ingredients to freedom and financial peace of mind. We do our best to add a little color to the monochromatic world of personal finance, but there’s only so much to work with. The journey to financial freedom isn’t all that glamorous, but with the right goals and motivations, the hope is that it will all be worth it.

So while we may have missed our chance at daytime TV stardom, we’re content to keep chugging along on our boring, merry way. And we’re glad to have some pretty great company here.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Ramona October 29, 2015 at 7:30 am

    The issue with such shows is that they misrepresent the real quest for financial freedom, just as many weight loss shows are getting too extreme. In reality it’s all about small changes in our habits, a lot of grind and slowly seeing some better results. It’s not something that gets done in 2 seconds, it’s not winning the lottery, it’s something we’ll probably do our entire lives and, after a while, see some real improvements.

  • Reply Vanessa October 29, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Great post. I have thought for quite a long time that because of the sensationalization of budgeting and money-saving by the media is so prevalent, that most people who pay attention to that sort of stuff have unrealistic expectations. Anyone remember that “extreme couponing” show? Yeah- those people basically caused a trend in trying to coupon your way to a $0 grocery budget, which in turn caused the coupon-issuers and stores to change their policies to combat the huge amount of coupon scammers out there.

    Everyone loves to hear about (and aspire to) those types of stories. Most of the time, it’s just not reality. The reason I love your blog is because it offers your real life experiences and struggles. You’re not alone with the Target thing, and admitting that you’re budget isn’t 100% perfect all the time is refreshing. The truth is, each individual family (or person) has to take a look at their own financial situation and analyze what works for them. Everyone makes different amounts, and prioritizes different things. One thing that works for one family might not work for the other. Because the media often tricks people into thinking that if they do this *one thing*, they will save tons of money and be rich within 6 months – which just isn’t true. Budgeting and frugal living take years to master and lots and lots of diligence and brutal honesty with yourself and your spending habits. I know the sensational stuff sells, but it’s often not applicable to most people. I guess that’s why most people don’t live the way you (and lots of your readers) do.

    Thanks so much for keeping it real on your blog!

  • Reply Asa October 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    This is 100% true, and one of my favorite posts you’ve done in a while. I love your blog, precisely because it shows that it’s possible to save money AND be “normal” at the same time. While being extreme will get more “notoriety”, it’s not practical or sustainable for most people. Sure, never (I mean never) eat out. Or only use two tanks of gas in an entire year. If that’s what you want to do, more power to you, but as you point out, making small changes in behavior is more sustainable and therefore ultimately more successful. Kudos to staying true to your principles even if it meant you didn’t get to be on TV.

  • Reply Jennifer October 29, 2015 at 11:18 am

    This was fun, and what a great headline! I saw this on Facebook and knowing how down to earth you guys are, was kind of thinking to myself, ‘what in the world are they up to?’ Now I know.

    While not sexy, it is really good for me to hear right now that turning finances around takes time and effort. It seems like for every handful of smart, sensible mature actions I take, I do one stupid thing. That ratio is improving but slowly.

    Keep up the informative posts.

  • Reply Jenn October 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I started reading to find out how to save 50% of my income in one week… love your response. It’s honest and it works. Thank you!

  • Reply Kendal November 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times reporters have asked me for money-saving tips that are “fresh,” “new,” “groundbreaking,” “different,” etc. I’ve told them point blank that when it comes to saving money, keeping it simple is the most effective strategy. It may not be what they want to hear, but it’s the truth. My husband always encourages me to offer this response: “If you want to save money, stop buying sh$%.” Can’t get simpler than that!

  • Leave a Reply