Let’s face it, when it comes to spending, there’s not a whole lot left in our bank account after paying bills, not to mention have enough for food and gas, so it makes sense to what to treat yourself with your remaining funds. The problem is, if you’re not building up an emergency fund, paying off debt, or saving for retirement, you could be overspending to the point where you need to take a long look at your finances. By make a few spending tricks in mind, you can hopefully free up extra money in no time and finally get ahead, something that has probably been lacking for a while now, if not years. While it will take patience and discipline, it will be worth it when you start to see more leftover in your bank account every month.
Stick to a List
No matter if you’re shopping online, a mall, or a grocery store, it can be overwhelming going out unprepared, setting yourself up for more impulse purchases to spend your hard-earned money on. By making a list of all the items that you need, even taking a step further and grouping by location, you can keep your head down and stick to your list, making sure that not only all the items you purchase necessary on your shopping trip, but that you also do not forget any items and have to go back out.
Never Shop on an Empty Stomach
This is especially true when going grocery shopping, but many stores have food and drink items, not to mention you can always stop for a meal when you’re out shopping. There’s nothing worse than going to the grocery store but stopping to each out anyways. That’s when it really makes you think that a third of your grocery bill was spent eating out, making it more important to eat at home. By grabbing a snack or meal at home before you go out shopping, you can ensure you keep your eye on the prize instead of spending extra money on food.
Try Using Cash Instead of Credit
While it’s certainly a fault to use a credit card for purchase, especially when it comes to fraud protection, not to mention the credit card rewards points and cashback that can add up, but if you find yourself surrounded by debt, it might be time to put the plastic away and opt for the old-fashioned method that is beginning to be forgotten about: cash. By using cash, you can only spend what you have, and when it’s gone, it’s gone until next paycheck. Also, by seeing the cash leave your hand and going into the register, it may make you give second thought to whether or not the purchase is worth it in the first place.
Sure, you can have an idea of what you’re spending but until you look at every single dollar that goes out, is when the microscope comes out and every purchase is examined. By taking a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can not only see what you’re spending in every area such as bills, food, gas, spending, but take a step further and figure out how many unnecessary purchases were made that could still be in your bank account otherwise.
Follow a Budget
Once you figure out how much you’re currently spending in all areas, you can come up with how much you should be spending, and then create a budget from there, allocating funds out. You can even build in expected events that will cause extra spending money, such as vacations, even Christmas shopping, so you can save up throughout the year and not take the full hit at once. While a budget will certainly need to be tweaked along the way, if you stick with it, it can prove to give extra control over your finances, adding up to more money over time.
Stop Treating as a Form of Fun
Of course, it’s fun to go on a shopping spree, especially after a stressful week of work, it’s nice to get away, even from the family for a bit, for some much-needed alone time. The problem is, coming home with bags of purchases will cure your blues in the short-term, but once that wears off, you’re still left with your underlying mood, not to mention extra stress when you see the credit card bill come in. If you can set aside times a year to spend on yourself, you can take of you, and your wallet at the same time.