The 10 Commandments of Personal Finance


Thou shall live within thy means

This simply means, don’t covet the Mercedes when all you can afford is a Corolla. Yes, you should strive to earn enough so that one day you can buy the Mercedes fair and square, but don’t do it by going into debt. Keep your spending in check. Spend less than what you earn.

Thou shall not take out a loan in vain

Debt is modern day slavery. Avoid debt if you can. Yes, there are some situations where getting into debt is unavoidable. Housing, education and auto all are valid reasons. There is absolutely no reason to go into debt to pay off everyday expenses. If you are, you need to take a close look at your expenses.

Thou shall save for a rainy day

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Keep a comfortable sum of money fully liquid as emergency fund. This should come before any of your long term goals like investing or saving for a house.

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s lawn mower

Every family’s situation is different. Know what’s yours. Just because your neighbor bought a $4000 robotic lawn mower or a flashy car doesn’t mean you should get one too. Don’t try to keep up with the joneses.

Remember thy retirement day to keep it fully funded

If you are young, retirement might seem far off. If you are not young, retirement will be constantly on your mind. No matter what stage you are in, remember to save to lead a comfortable retirement life. Money shouldn’t be a source of worry during your golden years. Learn about IRAs, fund your 401K, contribute to your HSA and save every chance you get.

Thou shall not try to time the market

Timing the market is a loser’s bet. Keep emotions out of investing and dollar cost average into the market. Invest what you can, but do it with discipline and do it regularly.

Thou shall be frugal

Being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap. Being frugal means instead of buying bottled water on that road trip, carrying water with you. It means seeking out discounts, ways to cut avoidable expenses, means to reduce waste. Being frugal means living smart.

Thou shall not neglect thy health nor thy family’s health

Food is cheap, thanks to technology and capitalism. But this also can lead to gluttony. Keep an eye on your health, your family’s health. Don’t neglect that yearly checkup. Even if you follow all the other commandments, it doesn’t matter if you don’t live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Thou shall not gamble

Addiction of any sort isn’t a good thing, be it casinos, cigarettes or betting on horses. Your odds of winning are minuscule and you pay with your time and money both of which can be spent elsewhere in a more rewarding manner.

Thou shall not steal

You should strive to make more year after year, but do so fairly. Making money at the misfortune of another is no way to paradise.


30 thoughts on “The 10 Commandments of Personal Finance

  1. Tough to argue with any of these money commandments! Those who follow these will likely live a more financial stable life over the long-term.

  2. nice way to put it, and very wise advice all around. I particularly like the neighbor’s one, you may spend a lot on what you do love but getting something just to keep up with society is never a good idea.

  3. I like this list Money Cone! That’s a funny one about the lawnmower but so true. Some neighborhoods are so competitive and I’m thankful I don’t live in one like that. I march to the beat of my own drum.

  4. Great list. Interesting how commandments are interrelated. Follow them and life will be less stressful and health thereby improved.

  5. I always get a little nervous when we have to tap into the ole rainy day fund. I usually stay that way until it gets back to the level it should be at for emergencies.

  6. If you follow these principles, you won’t get into any financial problems. It’s important to reinforce these timeless wisdom since we live in a consumerist society.

  7. Pretty funny; could tie directly to some more real ones too. “covet they neighbor’s wife” could be expensive too!

  8. These are all great tips! That lawn mower one is funny. But they are all to the point simple but almost as if they are too easy for people to understand how important they are.

  9. Fantastic advice… where was this ten years ago when it really would have helped ;)

  10. Obey and live them everyday and you be living debt-free.

  11. Amen, brother! I especially like “Thou Shall Not Gamble.” It’s amazing how much money people throw away that way. And there are many ways to gamble, like not having an emergency fund or insurance or neglecting your health. Thanks for a great list, MC!

  12. I would object to “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s lawn mower”. Envy is the hidden perpetual mover of the economy!
    We need to make rational decision and get the robotic mower, while obeying the rest of the commandments.

  13. This is probably the most hilarious and truthful thing that I’ve read in a while. You just need to get this printed on two tablets, put on a robe, and then walk down from a mountaintop to get some attention to these rules. :)

  14. Awesome list MC! Can we add do what you are passionate about and it won’t seem like work!

  15. Awesome commandments. Really true and should be done everyday of our life. Amen!

  16. If you follow most of the Commandments you probably won’t have to dive into your rainy day fund at all.

  17. I totally agree with all your commandments! I also like your definition of being frugal, it is difficult to explain how frugal is different from cheap to some people.

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