Neil Warnock says "the gravy train has ended" at Cardiff City and wants value for money with his summer recruitment.
Cardiff posted a loss of nearly £9.5m in their latest accounts and next season will enter their final year of parachute payments from the Premier League after relegation in 2014.
Warnock said his transfer budget is not affected by that loss of revenue, but ruled out paying big wages.
"We've got to get value for money now," he said.
"That's why I've got to do my sums correctly to bring the players in, even players that I might pay money for has got to be in a responsible way.
"In the past couple of years it looks to me like there's not been a lot of thought gone into quite a few [players] on the financial side.
"I think we've overpaid really on a lot when I look at the structure at the minute and we've got to just bring that down a little bit.
"We've got to handle it better and get more value for money. I think the gravy train has finished at Cardiff now or it will do while I'm here."
Since the club's one season in the Premier League in 2013-14, several big name players left the club under previous manager Russell Slade to balance the books.
Warnock, who has won seven promotions so far in his managerial career, wants his squad's structure to be more competitive next season, with no big earners.
"You'll always get players on more than somebody else because your better players will always warrant that," Warnock added.
"But what we've got to make sure is that we've got a squad on similar wages all fighting for the same thing.
"I'm aware at the end of next season that the parachute payments have all gone as well so it's going to be a big 12 months for us really.
"I'd like to think that while I'm here I can put the club back on an even keel really and get value for money.
"I'd like the owners to be happy, the fans to be happy and the players to be happy."
The Cardiff manager has also promised to move on anyone who is underperforming, and will be using their final 10 games of the season to decide players futures.
"We've all got to strive to be better and that's where I come in," he said.
"You don't normally get managers in my situation because you're looking to keep your job and plan ahead whereas I don't look beyond the next 12 months because I can't do at my age.
"That's the challenge. I want to do things yesterday, so if my players want to let me down I haven't got time to hang about for them, they'll be out."
Cardiff host Birmingham on Saturday with a crowd of around 20,000 expected at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Birmingham have won only twice in 15 league games since Gianfranco Zola took charge and the Italian admits his side are not safe from relegation.