How To Develop Better Spending Habits

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There’s no way around it - it just feels good to spend money. Unfortunately, once you start, it can be hard to stop, even when your finances are in bad shape. It won’t be easy to get your spending under control, but here are some small, manageable steps you can take to develop better habits and keep more of your money.

Create a Budget

If you’re going to develop better spending habits, you first need to see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. Once you do this, you can then pick your categories and decide how much you should budget for them. Keep it simple - you want a plan you can stick to.  

Avoid Situations That Make You Want To Spend

We all have our triggers that make us want to spend. Maybe it’s passing a certain shop, browsing sale flyers, or sometimes it can even be your mood, such as boredom. These triggers can be too powerful to resist, so it’s best to completely avoid these situations that will tempt you to spend. For example, change your route so you don’t pass by that store, stop reading about sales, and find an activity other than shopping to do when you’re bored.

Limit The Damage

If you are in a situation where you’re likely to spend money, there are a few things you can try that might help stop you from spending too much.

Some people swear by using cash only. A credit card can make you feel like you have an infinite amount of money, which makes it easier to spend and harder to keep track of your money. By paying in cash, you can see exactly how much you’re spending, which can make it easier to control yourself.

If you feel like you need to make a purchase, sleep on it. Whether it’s 30 days or 24 hours, waiting before you spend will help you figure out if you really need to.    

Lastly, if you’re going shopping, make a list and set a time limit. The longer you wander around a store, the more likely you are to spend. With a clear plan, you can get in and out with more money in your pocket, and you may even enjoy some extra free time.   

Check Your Bank Account

It can be scary to see your account balance, but it’s important to check on a regular basis to keep yourself honest. If you find that you’re not able to stick to your budget, you can see where you’re going wrong and make adjustments.

Reward Yourself (When You Stick To Your Plan)

It’s hard to change your habits, so it’s important to reward yourself when things go well. If you can find a way to positively reinforce your new habit, you’re more likely to keep it. Just make sure that you’re not overspending on your reward, since that defeats the purpose.

These tips are simple enough to start practicing right away - and you should. With some discipline and persistence, you might be able to improve your finances and general quality of life.  

By Luke Smith

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