Getting Control of Your Spending
It can be easy to overspend. These days, you can swipe, tap, and click your way through life, spending money here and there until you wind up in financial trouble. Unfortunately, while it’s easy to overspend, it’s very tough to pay back debt.
If you’re having trouble getting your spending under control, here are some tips that could help you.
Track Your Spending
You can’t possibly control your spending if you don’t track it. If you’re not writing down what you spend, you won’t know where your money is going. This can mean that you’ll be overspending in certain categories without even knowing it.
The solution is to track your spending. There are many ways to do this. You can carry a notepad with you and jot down what you buy, you can use an app on your phone, you can use a spreadsheet on your computer, or you can do whatever else works for you. However, what’s important is that you write down your purchases shortly after you make them. The sooner you do it the better, because the longer you wait, the more likely you’ll be to miss something.
Once you’ve tracked your spending for a while, you can analyze it and see where your money is going. Compare your spending to your budget and see if it matches. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to make some changes.
If you don’t have a budget, you can use the information you gather by tracking your spending to come up with one.
Use Cash More Often
Credit and debit cards make it very easy to spend. Since you don’t have to physically take cash out of the bank and spend it, you’ll be much more likely to overspend when you’re paying with plastic. Credit cards present a whole new issue, as they allow you to spend money that you don’t currently have. This means you’ll be able to go way over budget if you’re not careful.
The solution is to use cash more often. Of course, paying in cash isn’t possible for every expense. You’ll probably still need to pay most of your bills by debit or credit, but you can do your shopping with cash if you plan it right.
Planning in the key to living on cash. If you don’t have a budget, stick to it closely, and track your spending, you could run out of cash before you get to the end of the month. However, if you’re diligent with planning and tracking, you’ll avoid overspending if you use cash more often.
Don’t Save Credit Card Information
One of the easiest ways to spend money is by shopping online. You can buy nearly anything on the internet and it’s all just a click or a tap away. Plus, online shopping sites are open 24/7, allowing you to buy with ease whenever you want to.
Shopping online is made even easier because most sites encourage you to make an account and to save your credit card number on the site. That way, the next time you want to shop, you can just click without entering anything. If you find yourself doing too much online shopping, delete any credit card details you have saved online and log out of your accounts. Then, when you want to buy something, you’ll need to log in, then go get your wallet to enter your card number to complete the purchase. This process slows you down and gives you more time to think about what you’re buying, which means you’ll likely shop online less often.
Put a Limit on “Impulse” Purchases
If you don’t have something on your shopping list, make a rule that you will wait a while before buying it. For instance, if you’re in the store to buy new shoes and you see a coat you really love, resist the temptation to buy it right away. Tell yourself that you’re going to think about, leave the store, and vow not to come back for a week. If, in a week, you still want the item, look at your budget and try to see what you can do to fit the coat in without going over-budget. You’ll need to make some cuts to do so, this means you’ll need to determine if it’s worth cutting another expense to buy the coat.
When you take time to think about purchases, you are able to consider if you really need them, which prevents overspending and helps you set financial priorities.