WomanOnABudget.com may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website..
Getting rid of bad spending habits can be a chore when you don’t have a plan of attack to make changes! When I decided to go on a journey of cleaning up my finances and getting on a better financial path, I initially had to change my way of thinking.
Your level of thinking that has you spending unwisely, is NOT the same level of thinking that will help you get back on track!
Generally, when we find ourselves doing something that may be harmful to our wellbeing, there is something generally wrong with the way you think about it. Every action begins in your mind! So these are the steps I followed to get myself back on a positive spending path:
1.Understand your motivations for spending:
I know that when I was spending unwisely it was mainly because I was financial illiterate, I never was taught how to properly balance a checkbook, pay bills on time, or save money. It wasn’t until I got older and wiser after dealing with a major financial setback that I began to financially educate myself! In college, I majored in accounting/finance but the curriculum was mainly on how to manage finances for large companies, not personal finance.
2. Focus on your reasons why you want to change:
And keep it at the top of your mind! Changing my way of thinking began with my desire to want to do better for myself! I got tired of having a poor credit score, and not being able to get low-interest rates on cars or credit cards. I was simply sick of tired of being sick and tired! I knew that I wanted to do better and buy a house one day, so I was willing to do whatever I had to do!
2.Create a budget:
Creating a budget was KEY to controlling my spending. It helped me to understand my overall financial picture and get REAL with myself! Creating a budget helped me to see my finances for what they really were.
3. Set a daily spending limit:
After creating my budget I created a daily spending limit on everyday expenses such as food. For example, when I go out for lunch I try not to spend more than $7.00 for a meal, or I make it a goal to not spend more than $15.00 per day.
4. Open an Everyday Expense Checking Account:
This extra debit account helps to separate my bill money (rent, utilities, car, insurance, etc), from my everyday expense money (food, gas, toiletries, entertainment). I set up an auto transfer to this account every time I get paid. This way I know the balances I have on each account for bills and for everyday expense items. I also have a savings account where I put my savings.
5. Stop caring what people think:
If you are trying to keep up with the Joneses, you are living for what people think! If you have to impress your friends by buying luxury items, but still have credit card debt, no savings account, or living paycheck to paycheck you need to reevaluate your friends and your spending habits! Your real friends will like you no matter what car you drive or labels you wear.
6. Learn how to have fun at home:
As I have gotten older, learning how to relax at home has gotten easier for me! A weekend with my husband watching our favorite show on Netflix and cooking our favorite meals is cheaper than eating out at a sit-down restaurant and going to a movie! Don’t get me wrong we still go out, but we only go out once or twice per month. This saves us a lot of money in the long run!
7. Start Couponing:
While you may not be an extreme couponer, like the ones we see on tv, but maybe you can go to a website such as Coupons.com to see if there is a coupon for the items you are going to get anyway! It will take on a few minutes and will save you money over the long run!
8. Know the difference between need vs a want:
Quite simply this is the golden rule of all spending tactics, just know the difference between a necessity or a luxury. If you can survive without it, leave it where it is.
9.Last but not least, reward yourself:
When you decide to change your spending habits you have to realize that you are not going to change overnight, so set small goals and reward yourself for achieving them. For example: If I bring my lunch to work Monday-Thursday, then on Friday I reward myself with dining out.
Overall, changing your spending habit will not change overnight, but these tips are definitely ways that you can make the transition easier! Creating a budget was a major thing that helped me to control my spending. Review my previous blog post on 4 Tips to create a Budget you can stick to, that will help you create a workable budget for yourself. Hopefully, these tips will help you minimize your spending so that you can save more money and do things that will help you get closer to your financial goals!