We all worry about money, but some of us need to worry a little more than others. Sometimes it can seem like when your paycheck arrives, it’s only a matter of days before it’s all spent and you’re back waiting desperately for the next payday. This can become an even bigger problem in retirement when those paychecks aren’t as regular or as big as when you were working. It’s times like these that you need to look at your spending habits and determine possible changes that need to be made. If you’re having spending problems, don’t fear; there are plenty of ways to curb the problem and keep your money where it is needed most.
Use cash more often.
You might be surprised about how much a few small changes in your shopping habits might help control your spending. One way is to use more cash when shopping for certain things. Credit cards and debit cards make for quicker trips to the cash register, but due to their seemingly limitless spending potential, we tend to overspend when using them. Try to use your cards only for big items or where you’ll get the most reward points. For smaller shopping lists, stick to cash. This will put a limit on your spending and keep you from going overboard.
Ask yourself “Do I really need that”.
One of the most common and identifiable problems among those with poor spending habits is the impulse buying. This is when you go into a store with a plan of what to buy but end up wasting money on random expenses they made on a whim. We’ve all been guilty of this but when it happens too often is when it can really affect your bank account. If this is a problem you identify with, start asking yourself before you make a purchase if this is really something you need. Impulse buying is not a rational thought and therefore doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny.
Keep track of your spending.
When you have poor spending habit, the negative impacts of that can often sneak up on you. These small purchases you make every now and then seem harmless, but then all of the sudden you’re struggling to make the mortgage payment before next payday. Don’t be caught off guard by these things. Keep track of where your money is going with a regular spending report. This not only gives you an idea of how your finances are looking but allows you to see where you could make necessary changes.
Examine the unnecessary services.
In those moments where you decide to cut back on your spending, you start to examine what expenses can be eliminated. In many cases, those regular but costly services get overlooked. You consider them to necessary without a second thought and move on to other areas you can make cuts. Give some more thought to those services like your phone plan and cable. How much do you really use them? Are you getting the most for your money? Are there better deals out there? Try looking into a pay-as-you-go plan for your phone if you aren’t using it as much, or try a family plan. As for your cable, consider switching to one of the streaming services like Netflix for your viewing entertainment. They offer plenty of great content and are much more affordable.
Keep your bill payments in line.
No one like paying bills but they are a necessary part of life. What would make them even less fun to deal with is if they came with extra fees due to late payments. Avoid that nightmare and keep your bill payments in line. Make sure you put aside the necessary funds each month to take care of the bills, set up reminders about payment so you don’t miss the due date, or better yet, sign up for pre-authorized payments.
Make your grocery shopping more cost-effective.
Grocery shopping is another thing that is just an essential expense, but there are still ways you can save money at the store. One easy method is to always shop with a grocery list and stick to it. That will save you from filling your cart with impulsive and unnecessary items. Also, try using frozen produce. Buying it fresh is nice but how much money do you waste on fruits and vegetables that end up just going bad.
Discuss finance openly with the whole family.
It’s difficult, in fact nearly impossible, to deal with your household’s finances if the whole family is not on the same page. If you recognize that the spending habits in your house need to change, you can’t expect to make much progress unless you discuss the topic openly with your family. Let them understand the situation and what will need to be done by all of them. Allow them to bring up their own concerns and opinions. Once you are all aware of the situation, things can progress a lot more easily and a lot more effectively.