While my adt probably could have been one of the worst overspending experiences that I had, it made it perfect timing to examine the rest of my spending habits in order to make the most of the hard-earned money that probably should have been put more towards building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for retirement. A good place to start would be taking last month’s debit or credit card statement and actually going line by line to see every dollar that is going out. You can put into categories that are necessary vs. unnecessary, working reducing what probably could have been avoiding, and then taking it another level and work on reducing some of your monthly bills such as cable or electric bills.
Quit Cold Turkey
If you find your credit card bill just continues to pile up no matter how much you pay off at once, it may be time to stop spending altogether so you can take a look at how much money is coming in and going out and see where the problem lies. Maybe it’s time to put a budget together and allocate certain funds out to bills, food, gas, and spending money so you can try and try to keep a close eye on improving the dollars that continue to leave your bank account. It will take some work, but with patience and discipline you could end up with an extra hundred dollars or more each month.
Use Cash Instead of Credit
Credit cards are good in that you can swipe anywhere, and even earn rewards in the form of points or cashback by making purchases, but that can also be where the problem lies in that you can continue to charge until you hit your limit, leaving you with a bill you are unable to pay in full by the due date and start to get charged interest. By using cash instead of credit, you can hopefully limit spending and once the cash runs out, it’s out, until the next paycheck, hopefully making you think about each purchase.
Never Leave Without a List
Impulse purchases can be a large part of overspending, whether you are walking each aisle in a retail store and see items you want, forgetting what you came for in the first place, or quickly adding to the online cart and buying with a couple clicks, if you need it or not. By making a list of only the items that you need, you can keep your head down and really focus on your list, hopefully getting out of the store without limited number of extra items.
Or an Empty Stomach
When going grocery shopping it’s also important to carry a list in order to get what you went in for, but also at the same time it’s a good idea to eat before you go, so you can have a clear head of what you go shopping for in the first place, because if you’ve ever gone to the grocery store hungry you know you can load up your cart with plenty of extra items that will add up at the checkout, and add to your waistline as well. After all, healthy items don’t sound good when you’re hungry.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
Speaking of grocery shopping, if you can prepare your meals, snacks, and even brew your coffee in time to grab on your way out to work in the morning, you can save hundreds of dollars every month instead of getting carryout for lunch or dinner, not to mention the cost of take the whole family out for dinner. While it may be tough to completely eliminate going out to eat, especially if you’re not much of a cook, even reducing to once a week and special occasions and you should still see an immediate impact on extra money staying in your bank account.
Entertain Before the Bar
Cutting out going to the bar with your significant other or friends may be impossible, after all, it’s a nice social outlet after a look week or a break from the family, but that doesn’t mean there are places you can cut corners. By having drinks at your house, entertaining with friends, before hitting the bar, you can reduce the end of the night bar tab by going out later, plus it’s nice to be able to play some music of your choosing and get the night started with conversation in the comfort of your own home.