How to Quit Your Spending Addiction in 5 Simple Steps
We all want to save more and spend less – but that can be tough when it’s so easy to use your money. These days, there are countless pieces of technology out there that make it simpler than ever to spend without even realizing how much cash you’re wasting. Signing up to monthly subscriptions takes a matter of minutes, and you can confirm a purchase with a tap on your smartphone screen.
So, in a world where it’s incredibly easy to form an addiction for your spending habits, how do you change your financial health for the better? Here are some simple tips to help you reduce costs and prepare for the future.
1. Plan Your Budget and Set Savings Goals
There are few things more important when it comes to making sure that you stick to your budget plans, than having a strategy in place. Your budget is a great way to give yourself an insight into where you’re overspending, and where you can cut back to improve your savings. Just remember that you’ll need to keep track of the money you spend to keep your budget as accurate as possible. Write down, or record everything you buy, from a morning newspaper, to a fresh cup of coffee.
Additionally, while you’re setting up your budget, make sure that you have an overarching goal in place to keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s harder to control your spending than you might think, a few simple goals could help to keep you inspired.
2. Stop Eating Out
As tempting as it can be to simply grab some fast food for dinner after a long day at work or buy a sandwich from the canteen for your lunch, you can save a serious amount of money simply by using the food you buy from the grocery store. Think about how you can plan to pack your lunches for work all week, and stock up on the ingredients you’ll need in advance.
Work with your family to come up with a list of meals that you’ll want to eat in the week ahead. If it helps, try choosing a theme for certain days, like make your own pizza day on Fridays, or taco Tuesday. Alternatively, you can look into trying out new recipes with ingredients you know everyone enjoys.
3. Ditch the Credit Cards
Credit cards can be a huge problem when you’re trying to save more and spend less. It’s easy to over-spend when you don’t have to see any cash going out of your wallet or bank account. The best thing you can do to make sure that you stay on track towards your goals, is to get rid of the credit cards and replace them with cold hard cash instead.
Figure out exactly how much money you’re going to need when you go shopping, and only take that cash amount with you. That way, you can ensure that you don’t spend any more than you planned to. If you see something extra that you want to buy, you’ll have to go back home for your card, and that will give you time to think about whether you really need the extra item. When it comes to paying off your credit cards, you may be shocked to see the rate of interest you’ll be paying so, to avoid shock, use a credit card interest calculator so that you know in advance how much you can expect to pay.
4. Don’t Underestimate Little Savings
When you’ve got big goals for your money, it’s easy to overlook the little savings that you can accomplish simply by giving up your morning coffee or switching your electricity or gas supplier. Many people struggle with their budget because they’re looking for big ways to make a difference all at once. However, the truth is that the best results come from the smallest changes.
When money is tight, every little saving opportunity you can find will make an impact. Whether that means cutting out coupons from your local newspaper or shopping online so you can avoid paying for petrol.
5. Know the True Cost of Everything
Finally, whenever you’re considering making a purchase that’s not on your monthly list of essential expenses, take the time to think carefully about the “true cost” you’re agreeing to take on. A good way to do this is to calculate how many hours you’d have to work to earn the money to pay for whatever you want to buy. For instance, if you were lucky enough to make $20 an hour, and you wanted to spend $80 on a meal, you might not feel too bad about using those four hours of work.
On the other hand, if you’re only earning $10 an hour, then $80 on one meal converts to a whole day at work instead.