These Tips Will Make You Smarter with Your Money
We can all admit to being a little frivolous with our cash at times. We know we should be saving more of monthly incomes away for things like rainy days and unexpected bills, but it’s so tempting to spend when we see the left over dollars in our bank account, that it’s almost impossible to say “no”.
Fortunately, even if you’ve had a tough time with your bank balance for some time now, there are still steps that you can take to improve your relationship with your money. The following tips are some of our go-to solutions for people who want to transform their financial situation once and for all.
1. Create a Budget
First, it might sound simple, but the most important thing you can do to get control of your finances once and for all, is to create a budget. Designing a spending budget that you can use on a monthly basis will help you to figure out how much you can reasonably afford to use on things like entertainment, eating out, and more.
Remember, your budget might not look the same for every month of the year. One month you may have more birthdays to think about, or you might have a few bills that only come out of your bank account at certain times in a year. Make sure that you’re flexible with how you choose to spend your money.
2. Take Advantage of Little Wins
Often, when making a budget, people struggle to cut down their costs because they assume that they have to give up on all the things that they enjoy. It’s always going to be tough to force yourself to do something that you don’t want to do, like getting rid of your weekly take-out dinner. However, you could start reducing your monthly expenses by looking for the quick wins first.
For instance, go through your bank statements and highlight anything that you’re paying for that you wouldn’t really miss if it was gone. This might include a streaming service that you don’t use, or a gym membership. Get rid of those things first, before you make the big changes.
3. Make One Big Change at a Time
When the time does come to make significant changes to your spending habits – don’t try to do too much at once. Changing any habit can be a very difficult process, so it’s best to start small and work your way up. For instance, you might decide that for the next few months, you’re going to focus on walking anywhere you can, instead of driving, so you can cut down on the costs for gas, and even your car maintenance.
After that, when you’re used to walking more often, you might choose to cut down on your grocery shopping spending habits by taking a list with you whenever you go to buy anything. Take it one step at a time.
4. Plan All Purchases
One great way to cut down on your unintentional spending, is to plan all of your purchases in advance. Although this won’t necessarily stop you from buying some things, it will help you to think more carefully about what you actually want to spend your money on. For instance, you might decide that you are going to borrow money for the computer that you want to help you take night courses for work. However, you might not decide to follow through with your decision to buy a month’s supply of chocolate at the grocery store.
Giving yourself more time to actually plan out your purchases is a fantastic way to keep your impulses under control. You could even put your cards on ice when you’re concerned that you’re going to make a big cash decision. For instance, give your cards to your partner and don’t take them back until 24 hours have passed.
5. Track Everything
Finally, the most important thing you can do is keep track of everything that you spend. Writing down exactly what you’ve spent on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet might not sound like a fun way to spend your weekend, but it is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re not overspending on any particular area of your life.
If you discover that you are likely to overspend in one space more than another, you could consider putting steps in place that will help to protect you against that issue in the future. Like avoiding sales if you know you’re tempted to buy something you don’t need.