Budgeting Essentials for Women from “On My Own Two Feet”


I bought the finance book “On My Own Two Feet” by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar about 5 years ago when I was a single lady and in college. This book has been my go-to resource for all things from car loans, mortgage, retirement, to budgeting. Every point in my life has warranted a look in this book. Needless to say, this book is worn and well used. Just as books should be!

My man and I have had our money together for almost 3 years now [that is a post in itself] and this book works for single ladies or families. It is geared toward women, but the financial advice is applicable to many different situations.

I start a new job as a librarian in a prison [as evident in this post] and we will be finally making enough money to live beyond pay-check to pay-check. Of course, this means I get to break open my best finance book and get to work on my budget! I thought it might be helpful so share some of the resources from this book.


Note: These resources are from the official On My Own Two Feet website. Check it out!

Your budget should be broken into these 4 segments, 25% Income Taxes (this may be high for some if they live in states like Arizona or Texas), 45% Foundation Expenses, 15% Future Expenses (savings), and 15% Fun Expenses.


What are Foundation Expenses, Fun Expenses, and Future Expenses?

FOUNDATION EXPENSES – Things you must pay for monthly.

  • Housing: your monthly rent OR mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, and property tax as well as other routine bills like utilities, phone, cable, internet.
  • Transportation: your car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, monthly tolls, and parking if you drive and/or your monthly bus, train, or subway pass if you take public transportation.
  • Basic groceries/supplies: food, toiletries, cleaning supplies.
  • Debt repayment:  any fixed payments on student loans or other debt (including credit cards).
  • Other Foundation:   health insurance, non-reimbursed medical expenses, life insurance, childcare costs, charity, and “ESSENTIAL” clothing.

FUN EXPENSES – Items that can be eliminated if needed

  • Fun food: take out, restaurants, coffees & snacks, dinner & drinks with friends, etc.
  • Fun clothing: your “WANT” clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry.
  • Entertainment: movies, concerts, CDs, DVDs, magazine subscriptions, books, newspapers, hobbies, etc.
  • Personal: gym membership, facials, manicures, makeup, etc.
  • Other: vacations, gifts, pets.

FUTURE EXPENSES – All forms of savings.

  • Retirement: 10% should be saved into retirement
  • Emergency Fund: This should be 3-6 months of your monthly income in case of a emergency or the event you lose your job.
  • Big Ticket Items: Such as a down payment on a car, house, wedding, or a huge vacation.

The book also suggests you do a two month budget check. To do this you just spend as your normally do and record all your expenses and income. Using this handy budgeting excel form [you can also find the same form on the official website under downloads] you can record all this info.


While not all things fit for each person, I think these are good budgeting rules to follow. I mean, our dogs are part of our family so they are foundation expenses. Also, a gym for me is not negotiable [though, I only pay $10 a month so…]. I have tried to keep a log of spending habits, but I am not very good at actually recording information. I much prefer to move my foundation expenses into an account meant specifically for bills, fun expenses into a different account, and savings into a savings account. A larger post on this can be found here.

I hope this helps all of you! It’s a great book and you should pick it up.

love, Sarah


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