Much like anything in life, you don’t want to admit you have a problem, let alone a spending problem, but if you find that more money is going out each month compared to coming in, then it’s probably time to take a long look at your finances and make a few changes. After all, if you’re not able to stay out of debt, while building an emergency fund, and contributing to retirement and even a college fund, then it’s time to re-thinking your spending priorities.
Start Tracking Purchases
If you were asked how much your monthly bills are, how much you’re spending on food or gas, or even how much is in “fun money”, would you know the answer? Even if you have a rough idea, it’s time to take a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement and actually go line by line to see every dollar that is going out. From there you can determine which were actually necessary and what probably could have been avoided. Once you add up those unnecessary purchases, just think about the many ways where your hard-earned money could have been best served elsewhere.
Use Cash Instead of Credit
Cash may be a thing of the past, especially today when it’s so easy to swipe your card, but that could be part of the problem in why spending has gone out of control. At least with cash you can only spend what you have, and once it’s gone it’s gone until the next paycheck, so if you allot yourself a certain amount for spending, maybe using cash will give second thought to any purchase you’re looking to make when you see the money actually leaving your hand and going into the register.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
Probably the hardest sacrifice to make when it comes to curbing your spending is to avoid going out to eat. After all, it’s convenient to have someone else serve, cook, and clean up after you, even if it means getting carry out. By avoiding going out to lunch or dinner, even stopping for coffee every morning, and go grocery shopping instead, you can watch the savings add up almost immediately. While it may be impossible to completely cut out, but even saving going out on the weekend would still make an impact, not to mention eating at home would give more healthier options and you will probably see the pounds drop off right away.
Ditch the Unnecessary Expenses
When it comes to cutting down spending even further, sometimes you have to make some tough calls, but once you get rid of them it is possible to live without. Just take your cable bill for instance. How many of the channels do you actually watch, and live for that matter without recording on your DVR? If you opt for a streaming service for around $10 a month you may not even miss your cable bill. Same goes with the gym membership that you are probably paying for but not using nearly enough, if at all even.