While I believe truly healthy financial functioning is a myth for most people in this economy, there are certain things we can do to make our lives easier. While unplanned expenses like car repairs, medical bills, and other emergency costs can spell disaster for any budget, certain expenditures should be examined more closely to see where valuable cuts can be made.
I think for most people food and entertainment are some of the most ripe areas for trimming the fat (no pun intended). Think about it, how often do you pick up a coffee or a snack? Do spend money on alcohol at the bar? These habits will make you poor in a hurry. Not that it's not okay to enjoy them from time to time, but when they become habits, a larger and larger portion of your income will end up being pissed away.
Entertainment is the same way. If you constantly go on road trips, take flights out of town, and escape for weekend getaways, the bills will start to add up. This next infographic from Lifetuner.org gives us some starting points to reference where are problem spending areas might be.
Again, I think these figures are very idealistic depending on your income/debt ratio, but it's something to strive for. Many people struggle with excessive credit card debt and enormous educational repayments, so that throws this whole picture into disarray.
Take a look at what they came up with and see if there's any spending you can cut to make your monthly payments more manageable. Living paycheck to paycheck is unfortunate and doesn't leave you any lead way, but if you can manage to save a little, unplanned expenses wont be such a catastrophe.