Save Like Danny Tanner & Live Like Uncle Joey

Full House Financial Tips

Our baby girl was a bit of a wreck last week. She got her four-month shots, and for a few days she didn’t feel very good. One minute she’d be all smiles and giggles, but the tiniest blip could set her into crying at the top of her lungs. And vice versa. One moment she’d be crying and then she’d smile and kick her legs excitedly at something she saw. It was very Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque. Thankfully, after a few days, her happy side won out.

At times I feel like I’m at odds with myself as well when it comes to saving and spending. But rather than Jekyll and Hyde, it’s closer to how I’d imagine Danny Tanner and Uncle Joey would be when it comes to saving and spending. More often than not, the Danny side of me shines through and is like, “SAVE MONEY!!!” And then I see a pair of leopard print wedges at Madewell, and my (female) Uncle Joey alter-ego roars, “GIVE ME! MUST BUY!” I think/hope I’m not alone in feeling this way. Is my crazy showing?

Just in case I’m not alone in having a split-spending personality, here’s how Johnny and I tame the wild, conflicting beast that pulls us to be Danny one moment and Joey the next:

Save Like Danny

Track Every Cent Spent

More than anything else, obsessively tracking our spending has been a sure way for Johnny and me to save. By tracking, we’re forced to recognize the price of items we buy and stay conscious of just how much we’re spending. The Joey part of us really hates that we do this. But it works, people. We track our spending using the HomeBudget app since it’s easy to enter the info on our phones. We just type it in and forget about it, which does appease Joey a little bit.

Know the Price Beforehand

Johnny is the Danny Tanner mastermind behind this tip. Basically, this is how it works: we never go to any non-free place without knowing the price in advance. This usually means either checking for prices on a website or calling beforehand. Thus, as Danny would probably do, we’ve turned down a $40/plate dinner with friends and asked to meet them after for dessert instead. It used to really annoy me that Johnny insisted on doing this, but it’s saved us $100’s to date, I’m sure. Just a couple weeks ago I wanted to try a Thai place near our house, but I called and realized it was a tad too pricey to justify on a non-special-occasion night. If we’d driven to the place before finding out the price, there’s a 97% chance we’d have just stayed and paid the $20/plate.

Stash Money Away Before You Even See It

If your Uncle Joey side never sees the money, he’s much less likely to try to spend it on a new Batman costume at your local party store. So how is this done? First, we have a certain percentage of our paychecks put into our 401k/403b automatically. We also have a certain amount of money that automatically transfers from our checking to our savings each month. One day it’s there ready to be spent, and the next day, poof!, it’s gone. Oftentimes, you can also have your company put a certain percentage of your paycheck into different accounts, so you can put your budgeted savings directly into your savings account.

Live Like Joey

Bring Friends Into It

Even when Johnny and I have had our budgeting belts pulled the tightest, it’s never meant wallowing in non-spending despair all by our lonesomes. We still hang out with friends, but we do it on our terms. Instead of getting roped into expensive outings, we suggest having activities at our own home, such as a potluck meal, cookie exchange, or a gathering to watch “the big game.” The men watch the game, the ladies catch up on each other’s lives, and Uncle Joey does his ventriloquist act. When we lived in NYC, we couldn’t have more than a few people to our tiny apartment at once. So we’d suggest a get-together at a park or another couple would volunteer their apartment for the event. The Uncle Joey in us was surprised at how open others were to spending a night at our homes rather than out on the town.

Take a Vacation

When you’re in saving mode, your Danny alter-ego kicks and screams when the word “vacation” is even mumbled by a passerby within earshot. They’re excessive! They’re not necessary! he says to you. Well, tell Danny to Vacations are necessary. Johnny and I have never gone a summer without a vacation of some sort. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. And it doesn’t have to be long or fancy. But to preserve your sanity, you must take some time off from work and life’s responsibilities. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your Uncle Joey side could burn out forever. Which would make you a forever-Danny. Which would mean you’d have no friends, or only other forever-Danny friends! And we can’t let that happen, can we? Our only rule of thumb to prevent overspending on thrifty vacations is to ensure our entire vacation cost doesn’t exceed the amount earned for our PTO.

Have a Fun Expense Every Week

When you’re saving like Danny, it’s easy to become a saving robot that doesn’t compute anything but SAVE SAVE SAVE. And while saving is all good and well, it can get pretty dull. So to abate the dullness, Johnny and I make sure we have at least one expense each week that we look forward to. Now, don’t get any crazy ideas. We’re talking pretty inexpensive stuff. For us it’s usually a movie rental and a favorite takeout meal together on Friday night after Baby Girl’s asleep. Right now we’re digging a Japanese place down the street. Other possible fun weekly expenses for us? For me, it might be buying a fictional book and a bag of gummy worms. For Johnny it might be hitting balls at a driving range. Either way, the Joey and Danny in us are both appeased.

So that’s how we quell the conflicting Danny Tanner and Uncle Joey storms that rage within us. We give into both, while being true to ourselves, our other selves, and our budget.

We hope our confessing to having a split-spending personality has been helpful in some way. Or maybe we’ve just made you even more concerned than you already were about the state of our mental health. Are you more of a Danny Tanner or an Uncle Joey?

(Original photo by iamagenious)

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Lori May 16, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I’m Danny Tanner and my husband is Uncle Joey. You can imagine the problems this causes. 🙂

    • Reply Michelle May 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

      We are just like Lori and her husband 🙂

  • Reply K.Nicole May 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I love the way you broke this down using Full House one of my all time favorite shows when ABC used to have “Must See TV”. Unfortunately I’m an Uncle Joey, but I’m trying to be more like Danny. My husband and I have His, Hers, Ours Checking Accounts and Savings Accounts. We each have a certain percentage (18%) of our paychecks go to our personal checking automatically (that’s our fun money). And the rest goes directly into our OURS checking for household bills, grocceries, daycare, etc. From that account we have an automatic withdrawl to our savings during every pay period. I also saved the amount of money my salary had increased from my raise in Nov. until I had my baby in January. Now that raise money goes into increased daycare costs from said baby. 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      It sounds like you’re doing a lot to to save money right now, which is awesome! It’s all about planning and then sticking to those plans, and it sounds like you and the hubs are doing a great job.

  • Reply Roo // NEON FRESH May 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I’m more of an Uncle Jesse. I don’t know what that means, but I wanted to be the anomaly.

    Love the save like Danny/live like Joey mentality, and I’m also impressed that you found the Full House font. *slow clap*

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      That explains your great hair. And I assume there’s a hidden room full of Elvis paraphernalia as well.

  • Reply Carrie May 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I am a Danny married to a Joey. When we were first married, he pulled me more toward the spendy side, but now we’ve moved back to toward the saver side.

    Love your tips. The Danny in me can be a little overboard, so I remind myself that an occasional within budget “treat” is not going to kill me. When I stand there debating between buying two items over a 20 cent price difference, I know I need to get a grip. : )

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      It’s good you’re opposites and you balance each other out.

      I was doing the same crazy price comparison today with apples. Spending $0.40 extra cents is not going to break the bank, Joanna! (I speak only in third-person on Fridays.)

      • Reply Melanie May 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        I just started reading your blog recently. I had to respond because I did this on Friday with apples-compared some red ones with some green…haha. 🙂 But I’m only in my 3rd month of budgeting so right now I need to be a stickler!

        • Reply Johnny May 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm

          Usually Joanna’s the Uncle Joey, but with the apples last week, I definitely came in and said we should splurge the $0.40. Good for you for sticking with your stickler guns!

  • Reply Elvin @ Journey To Millions May 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

    It is the logic vs emotion thing. Our logic tells us that we need to save as much as we can for our future. The emotion tells us that we are depriving ourselves if we focus too much in saving. Logic says “live for the future”, while emotion says “live for the day”. Both are right so, it is a constant battle of thoughts. Anyway, I’m more of a Danny, if I am on my own but I usually give in to my Joey side every time my wife reminds me that we need this and that which is usually associated to fun.

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Great insights, Elvin! I’m glad your wife reminds you to have fun once in a while. 🙂

  • Reply Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild May 16, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I’m an extremist, so I tend to swing from one side to the other. I’m working on finding balance and getting rid of my all-or-nothing mentality :).

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Glad to hear it, Erin!

  • Reply Jake Erickson May 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Haha, awesome analogy. I love Full House. I think both my wife and I are Danny’s which means that we need to force ourselves sometimes to be Uncle Joey’s. This can be good when it comes to saving, but I can attest to the fact that being an Uncle Joey every once in a while is a lot more fun.

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Two Danny’s! You guys must be putting money away like nobody’s business! I prescribe a vacation this summer for the two of you. 🙂

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Oh yeah. We just went through those days. What fun that was. I used to be Uncle Joey, but now am more like Danny Tanner. I might even throw in some Uncle Jesse on occasion when I am feeling sprite.

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Three battling personalities, huh? You need to get that checked out! 😉

  • Reply Chris May 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I’m pretty much a Danny. I have to remind myself that I need a vacation this year. Since I never really go on vacation… Gotta have Uncle Joey come to visit once in a while so I can take a break.

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      That’s right, Chris! You better get yourself a vacation booked stat. Hard work should be rewarded.

  • Reply Amanda May 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Danny with hints of Joey. It can be hard when you feel guilty spending money, but a life with no fun isn’t fun at all!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      I get those same feelings of guilt, Amanda! But we’ve got to make sure we treat ourselves, no matter how small!

  • Reply Courtney May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I’m definitely more on the Danny-side, but try to be like Uncle Joey every once in awhile because you are right you need to have treats and things to look forward to or you are just going to burn out! I’m trying to find the right balance between saving and spending! It is like losing weight, if you deprive yourself of every little indulgence and only eat kale, you are just going to give up and go binge on cookies. So, you need balance so you can have a little fun because life is short and you do want to enjoy it and have a little fun!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      That’s a perfect way to look at it Courtney! Johnny and I still work at that balance every month. I haven’t bought new clothes in a while, and if Johnny weren’t here to stop me, I’d probably binge on a new wardrobe right this second. 🙂

  • Reply Halsy May 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    What a creative post! My husband and I are almost always like Danny but have our Joey moments! I have always equated items to how many hours of work it would take to pay for it. So say I make $20/hr is a $20 meal worth one hour of 40 to me. Almost always the answer is NO. It has helped me stay away from purchasing a lot of non necessary items. We are lucky to have many friends follow budgets so that is helpful! We like to have Friday redbox rental night and housemate kettle corn from our local grocer. My weekly fun purchase is usually an iced coffee from Starbucks in the summer on a stroller walk. The $1.95 a few times a month keeps me from feeling too deprived 🙂 this year we decided on a family vacation with m husbands family and to split cost and cook most meals at vacation house to save $$$ plus we will get a date night since family is around!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Johnny does the same thing, Halsy! He always equates prices with work hours. It really is helpful, and it’s started rubbing off on me, too!

      We are one and the same with our movie nights… kettle corn is where it’s at! 🙂

  • Reply The Norwegian Girl May 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    aw! thanks for the trip down memory lane! I remember watching Full House as a child, I loved that show! I think I´m a little of both, I like to save, but I like to live a little as well!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      If I let Johnny have the remote late at night, Full House reruns would be a regular part of our adult lives, too!

  • Reply Maya Symone May 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I’m a Danny Tanner and I can definitely go overboard sometimes. The Uncle Joey in me has come out this month but he’s definitely going back in by June.

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Glad you’ve given Uncle Joey a deadline! 😉

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone May 17, 2013 at 1:49 am

    I think I’ve been both at some point in my life! I love it that you check prices before you go places! I don’t typically do that, but it’s a great idea!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      Finding out the price in advance really has helped us a lot. It gets tricky when someone else has invited you to a place that you find out is really expensive. Then you have to get creative and figure out what to do :).

  • Reply Tara | Treble in the Kitchen May 17, 2013 at 4:52 am

    This is so great! I would say that I am more of a Danny Tanner (even though I need to get my budget under control a bit!) and my fiance is an Uncle Joey 🙂 I am sending this to my fiance because it shows GREAT ways to compromise for both personality types. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Joanna May 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      I think it’s great when a couple is opposite. It helps keep a balance. I confess I’m the Uncle Joey in our relationship (shh!). But Johnny and I are proof that you can find a good middle ground!

  • Reply Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy May 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I think that my husband and I are a combo of the two. We don’t have any formal type of budget, but I track our spending through our online bank account so I can see where our money is going, and we discuss our big purchases together before we make them. We are still saving money and we don’t have any kids yet, so this works for us. My husband is NOT a shopper, and I have to be in a certain mood to shop, so I think this works in our favor :).

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      So a Joenny (Joey + Danny)? That’s awfully close to my name. And I don’t like that.

      If your system ain’t broke, no point in fixing it. I’m a mood shopper, too. I think Joanna was born ready to shop, but I’m happy to play the Danny Tanner.

    Leave a Reply