6 Ways to Better Control Your Spending

If you feel like lately your spending has gone off the rails and you don’t know where to begin to get back on track, the good news is there are some easy changes you can implement to make a big difference! Take a look at these six tips for how to better control your spending and stay on budget for reaching your goal of a debt free life!

Create a budget…and stick to it!

It doesn’t matter where you stand financially; it’s smart to have a budget for how you spend. This provides valuable insight into where you spend your money and potentially areas you can cut back, should you need to. It only take a little effort to outline a budget that allows both flexibility and accountability.

Only shop when there is a goal in mind

Shopping is a favorite pastime for many! It becomes dangerous when spending unplanned money becomes an ongoing habit, especially for things you simply don’t need. If you really want to curb your spending, only shop when you have a goal in mind. Create a clear shopping list and stick to it. Sure, some other things might catch your eye, but if they are not on the list, they don’t make the cut until you’ve saved up additional funds to pay for them.

Don’t fall for marketing traps

In line with shopping with a goal in mind, be aware of marketing traps that most commonly come in the form of sales. It’s a store’s job to convince you to buy something you don’t really need by making it seem like you’re getting a deal. The best “deal” you can get is paying nothing and walking away from an item you don’t really need. Fifty percent off is still 50% more than what you came intending to spend on something not on your shopping list.

Keep in mind your long-term goals

Spending your money on an impulse buy might seem enjoyable right now, but what would be more enjoyable is that Caribbean vacation (or anything else!) you had been meaning to save up for long-term. Don’t lose sight of the prize. Put reminders around your house, in your car and in your wallet so that you stay focused on that long-term financial goal.

Make spending feel more “real” by using cash

Using cash instead of plastic is a tried and true way to curb a spending addition. You are better able to physically see your budget for the week (or month) as well as how quickly it’s being spent on different items. Once you run out of cash, you essentially run over your budget, so it’s a hard stop on spending that makes you think twice about those impulse purchases.

Use technology for easy tracking

Finally, be sure to take advantage of the many different platforms available to help track spending and set a budget. Mint.com is a highly reputable platform, free of charge, that aggregates all of your bank accounts to show you income verses expenses as well as month to month trends in spending.

No matter where you stand financially, these tips should help put you on the right track to living within your means. Share the tip you plan to put into practice first and why by commenting below!