A woman spending money.
Personal Finance

Is Your Spending Out Of Control?

If you want to build a strong financial future, you need to save as much money as possible. If you are a serial shopper, that can be a difficult thing. You need to learn to change your spending ways if you want to build those savings and investment accounts. Here is how you can accomplish that goal and become more frugal.

Set A Budget

First and foremost, you need to set yourself up with a budget. Most spendaholics really have no idea where their money is going and that is part of the problem.

Take some time and write down every expense that you have, including savings, and then include allotments for things like food, entertainment and yes, even shopping. All work and no play will quickly lead to the destruction of your budget, so leave a little room for responsible fun.

Now that you have your budget, stick to it as best you can. You might make a few mistakes at first while you transition but keep at it and you can become a great budgeter.

Find Out What Makes You Spend

Everyone has a trigger that makes them do the things that they do.

It might be that you are bored, angry or just frustrated at something. Shopping can become a way to take your mind off of things.

Instead of shopping, you need to find something else to do to cope with your emotions or state of mind. Do more reading, start a new hobby or go for a walk.

There are a lot of interesting ways to deal with your triggers that do not involve your wallet.

Make Shopping Harder

The problem with having a shopping or spending problem is that it is just too easy to spend. It used to be that to shop you had to drive to the store. Now, you simply have to open up your lap top or just reach for your smart phone. There are a lot of companies that are more than ready to give you an outlet for your spending, so you need to make it harder to shop.

The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to erase your credit card numbers from the website or websites that you like to shop at. There is a reason that those websites ask you to store your credit card information, they want you to be able to buy with as few keystrokes as possible.

If you want to take it a step further, why not cut up those credit cards or store them in your safe deposit box so that you have them for emergencies but can not use them on impulse. If you know your credit card number by heart, report it lost so that you can get a new one.

Have A No Spend Day

If you are used to shopping whenever you want, it will take some adjustment to get yourself under control.

A great way to reset yourself, so to speak, is to have a no spend day. Have a day where you spend absolutely no money beyond the basics like gas and lunch. If you do not absolutely need it to survive, do not buy it. Take it one step further by even bringing your lunch to work.

After your no spend day, make an evaluation of how things went. It probably was not that bad, so why not kick it up another notch.  Really reset those bad spending habits by having a no spend week or even a no spend month.

Establish A Shopping Release

If you love to shop, it will be nearly impossible to completely give up this habit. If you make your budget too restrictive, you will eventually crash and break it, possibly in a big way. Give yourself a release to keep your shopping urges at bay.

In your budget give yourself an allotment for shopping. This could be anything from several hundred dollars to fifty bucks, it just depends on your budget. Once you have spent your budgeted amount for the month, you are done, no cheating.

Another idea to satisfy your shopping urge is to spread out required shopping throughout the year. For example, instead of shopping for Christmas presents all at once in November or December, spread it out. Do a little but each month to spread it out and give you some shopping release. You get to shop and you spend money that you would have had to spend anyway.

Use Cash

Cash is harder to spend than credit for a number of reasons.

First, cash is limited. If you only carry $20, it is not easy to get more cash for an impulse buy. You would have to run to an ATM or your bank teller and that gives you time to cool off.

In addition, when you use your debit card, or worse yet a credit card, you have a much more unlimited budget. Thousands of dollars at your disposal to buy whatever you wish.

Lastly, we have a stronger emotional tie to our money. It is easier to handle over a little plastic card than it is a hundred dollar bill or a stack of them, for that matter.

Set A Goal

So many people out there have absolutely no financial plan. If you do not have a goal, there is nothing to work towards and you have no motivation.

Set a financial goal and start little at first. If you have no emergency savings, for example, why not make it a goal to save one thousand dollars. Once you reach that, go for two thousand dollars. Keep moving it along and give yourself little rewards when you reach a goal.

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