Have you ever started off the month of December with the intention to not spend beyond your budget and even, dare I say it, stay under budget and save money? You know you could have this by simply buying only what you need, steering clear of the sales displays and trying to stick to your spending limits right?
But, despite your best efforts it just seems to happen. Before you know it you’ve spent more than you wanted to. Don’t beat yourself up, it happens to lots of people. So, before you get your next credit card statement and wish you could have learnt to stop spending money, read on for some budget training.
First, assess your financial status by following these 4 steps:
- Start with looking at what you have in your bank account(s) and what you spent over the festive season
- Check your credit card balances
- Calculate when you are getting paid next
- Consider your plans for the near future that require you to have money available e.g. Holiday, school uniforms for the kids etc…
Then, after taking this into consideration, ask yourself if you will you be able to survive? The survival to the next pay period is crucial and something I like to call ‘Strugglology’ – (d. surviving by the skin of your teeth ’til the next pay day commonly experienced by humans and shopaholics). This step avoids financial distress over the coming months.
We are all emotional animals. Some of us will over eat when stressed, others go to the gym, and some of us shop, shop and shop. Spending money gives us a sense of success and allows us to believe that we are doing well and then the buyer’s remorse monster rears its head. So, you need to know what your monster looks like or how it gets you every time:
- Understand what sparks you to spend – Just because it’s on sale and you have the money does not make it a good choice
- Make sure you know where every dollar has gone – You need to stop saying “I don’t know where all my money has gone” every month
- Use your own money and stop spending THE AVAILABLE BALANCE on Credit Cards. Destroy your credit cards, literally chop them, burn them and do not reorder them
- The first BIG step to financial piece of mind, set a short-term goal. That’s right, one, uno, un, ein. It does not matter what language you say or write it in you need to start with one simple and very achievable financial goal
- Set a Budget for the months expense – There is an old thought that you should always pay yourself first, so every month/week/fortnight deposit at least 1 dollar.
- The fun budget item – Eventually you will need to allocate some funds for fun, this should be a goal to work towards but DO NOT introduce this until you are moderately financially under control. This is the step many race towards and if this is you, then you need to start again. This is like a reward and not a break from the goal, this is the line you must not cross.
- Shop smarter and think value for money, this should be your motto.
- Start shopping like a seasoned professional. Investigate and you’ll discover deals in the most unexpected places.
- Remember the old saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? This is so true. If you like spending your money in-person take a look at yard/garage sales, consignment stores, and pawn shops for some awesome finds.
- If you’re more of an online shopper take the time to compare prices and find the best deal at a reputable online store.
- Some third-party sites can get you what you need at a lower price, if you don’t mind buying used or refurbished products.
- Try the next day rule. This is a strategy that allows you to buy an item without emotion. This allows you to analyse the purchase, look at the pro’s and con’s and the validity of the purchases. Does this always work? Hell no! you are required to show some self-control and not allow emotion to get the better of you. You need to listen to the little person at the very base of your rationale and take its advice, at the end of the day you are really guiding you.
- And finally, remember one thing, retailers know how to pull on your “want strings” so you need to strengthen your ability to just say, NO!
Once you have re-evaluated your situation with the above suggestions take a look at our previous blog Jingle Those Retail Christmas Bells for some added budget support suggestions and follow the path to healthy budgeting.
Good luck and I hope this helps you from overspending.