Everyone could use a little help once in a while. That’s especially true when it comes to spending money. If you find that your spending is starting to get out of hand there are some steps you can take to get back in control. Here’s the list compiled from The Balance, NerdWallet, and Money.
- Make a simple budget. Knowing exactly what’s coming in and going out can alleviate a huge amount of anxiety you might have about spending. Start by going over your card and bank statements to get an idea of your priorities. Are you spending more on dining and entertainment expenses than you are putting towards monthly savings? Having a simple outline of a budget will help you get on track.
- Live within your means. Seems simple, right? The idea is that if you don’t have the money for it, you don’t buy it. It just takes a little planning and quite a bit of discipline. This is where you basically stop making any purchases on credit and live with whatever cash (whether on hand or in a debit account) you have for discretionary spending. If you run out of cash, no more discretionary spending until there’s more.
- Use cash more often. Most of us are actually willing to put up with a small price increase just to use a card instead of cash. But those little charges can add up. It’s also easier to spend a bit less when using cash because it’s tangible. You can actually see it leaving your hand. While this doesn’t work for everyone, it’s certainly worth a try.
- Use an app. Budgeting apps like Mint and Level Money will actually send you a message when your spending is getting close to or over your target for a particular section of your budget. Some credit cards even have apps like this built right into your agreement.
- Go on a spending fast. This one can be tough, but it can also be eye-opening. Just set an amount of time and buy nothing that isn’t essential. Nothing. Seeing how much money you’ve saved at the end of the fast is sometimes the wake-up call you need to help you curb spending once and for all.
Taking control of your spending is empowering. No matter if you follow one or all of these steps, being more aware of where your money goes will give you the tools you need to make sure your spending stays in control.