Finances are one of the big sources of anxiety between married couples. Too often one partner relies on the other to 'police' the budget while the other comes to resent it. That is why it is important for every individual to become savvy at taking care of their own finances and teach their significant others to do so as well (including their kids!)
Start a budget. List every expense and expenditure for a full 30 days. For an entire month write down every single penny that is taken out of your pocketbook and put back in. Where does the money go?
Set up categories. List each category separately. For example, utilities, rent, credit card payments, dining out, and so forth. Specialized categories can be created for hobbies. Do not give up your hobbies, but really track the cost of what you do in your spare time and weigh that with the long term consequences (i.e. decreased savings).
Downsize. This means to cut your expenses. Really nip your expenses in the bud. For some this will entail getting rid of an expensive home and moving to something smaller and simpler. Get rid of extraneous expenses that eat up your extra money (stop shopping and traveling). Stop using cable and cell phones. Cut out the monthly gym fees and the daily trips to your favorite coffee shop. By becoming more frugal and cost conscious, the dedicated budgeter will be able to direct their pinched pennies towards debt elimination and then savings.
Eliminate debt. By getting rid of credit cards and debt payments, a greater amount of the budget will be dedicated to savings and retirement. The high interest rates and fees simply are not worth it.
Create long-term and retirement savings. Relying on social security is not an option. It is important to live on less today so that retiring and paying for living expenses in the future is a possibility. Working until the end of your life is a distinct possibility if the future is not planned for. Many people lost money in their retirement funds. That should not be an excuse for not saving. By taking the time to save now, your quality of life will be better.
Create more cash flow. If you have more month than money, and downsizing expenses simply is not enough, it is time to find other ways to make money.