Maintaining a budget is the first step toward financial health...it’s important to be a good steward of your money. This is a fabulous habit to start but sticking to a budget can be tough. It’s easy to spend more than you’ve allotted on things like dining out, entertainment, the latest fashions, and other non-necessities. Allowing yourself some non-discretionary spending each month is smart; otherwise, you’ll feel deprived and unhappy. However, too many slips can hurt you.
These little overtures can add up to big issues. Stopping at Starbucks for your morning latte fix may be cutting into your house fund. The high cost of your premium cable service could be keeping you from paying down that credit card debt. Creating spending goals and sticking to them is crucial to reaching the financial goals you set for yourself. Take a look at these tips to help you change your spending habits and gain control of your budget.
Know Your Weaknesses
Retail therapy is often the subject of jokes, but overspending when you’re feeling stressed out, sad, or upset can be a destructive habit. Pay attention to what your spending triggers are as you move forward. Perhaps consider writing down how you’re feeling when you have the urge to make an impulse purchase. Think about your past spending habits to see if you can identify any patterns. Knowing your weaknesses when it comes to spending can help you to address these things in the future and make better choices.
Carry Only the Cash You Need
Having a debit card or credit card handy can be detrimental to your willpower. Carrying your entire week worth of spending cash in your pocket can be just as risky. It’s too easy to whip out the money and lay it down for the next impulse buy you come across. Instead, keep a minimal amount of cash on your person when you go out. Bring just what you plan to spend to the grocery store, movie theatre, or restaurant. This will put an end to overspending temptations.
Wait It Out
There are some purchases you’ll want to allow yourself. After all, you work hard for your money and should be able to spend it on things that bring you joy. A good rule of thumb when considering whether to buy something is to wait for a specific period of time before making the purchase. Waiting 24 hours is common, longer for larger purchases. This ensures you’ve given the matter some thought, done your research, and have consulted your budget. You’ll feel better about such buying decisions - knowing you made them carefully and with purpose.
These are three of the most useful ways to change your spending habits for the better and to gain control of your budget. Keep them in mind the next time you have the urge to make a purchase.
Just one small change can have a huge effect on your financial health...what steps are you taking?
Until next time...
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