The lure of spending money on new clothing, eating out, and other activities is a difficult task for many people. Sometimes financial circumstances, a change in employment, or a life change requires a drastic change in spending. There are some simple techniques that you can use to reduce the amount of money that flies out of the house on unnecessary spending and expenditures.
1. Define the budget and financial goals
Failing to keep good track of all the bills required for the month isn’t the best way to get things done financially. Write down each monthly budget before the month begins.
2. Track every dollar
That twenty dollar bill in your pocket might have a habit of disappearing during the day with purchases that just seem to happen randomly. Write down every expenditure and see where and how your money disappears.
3. Don’t carry credit cards
A credit card doesn’t “look” like money, so it’s easy to swipe it in a machine at a store. Leave the credit cards at home. Try to use cash only for every purchase and never take excess cash out of the house on small errands around town.
4. Make the savings account off-limits
Dipping into savings for any reason is a bad idea when retirement costs so much. Unless absolutely dire circumstances require spending money in a savings account, avoid tapping this fund at all costs. Saving money means not spending money.
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5. Share financial goals with family and friends
Going through a period of financial difficulty or engaging in a drastic change in spending habits does take work, but it’s much more difficult if the people around you don’t understand the change in your spending behavior.
6. Don’t use shopping to suppress emotions
Just as it’s difficult to resist buying a lot of food at the grocery store when you’re hungry, shopping when you’re depressed or stressed could make it easier to hand over the plastic (which you shouldn’t be carrying anyway).
7. Don’t give in to the kids
Those puppy-dog eyes might make it impossible to resist buying the newest toy for your child, but children shouldn’t get everything with just a look. Consider requiring some chores before a toy purchase.
8. Resist peer pressure
A friend who buys some expensive shoes might look terrific in that pair, but that doesn’t mean you also need to drop a few hundred dollars on a similar purchase. Saving money often means taking a different route for spending.
9. Don’t compete with the neighbors
The couple next door might own a BMW, but that doesn’t mean your budget will accommodate a luxury vehicle. Try a hybrid vehicle instead and be a smart driver instead of a spendthrift buyer.
10. Strive to be under-budget
A budget isn’t a block of unchanging cement. Try to spend a little less each month than the budget calls for with sales and coupons. Put that leftover money to good use in a savings account or into investments.
Changing spending habits takes effort, and it can be difficult to give up those luxury items and rein in the budget. However, with constant attention paid to money spent and awareness of what constitutes an unnecessary purchase, anyone can be more responsible with income and saving money.