How to Keep Your Spending Habits Under Control
Lockdown restrictions are easing and the shops are open again – so how do you keep yourself from going overboard with your spending?
Putting a little debt on credit cards may not seem too bad at the time, but if it’s unplanned and not budgeted for, you could be setting yourself up for the start of unmanageable debt that can easily spiral out of control.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself by shopping, going on holidays or having a night out with friends, but you need to check whether you’re spending more than you actually earn.
If you consistently need to use the credit cards to supplement your monthly spend, then you have a debt problem.
To help manage your spending habit then why not draw up a budget? Just by simply listing your income and expenditure every month helps you find out whether your over-spending and gives you an idea of how you can afford to live.
If you haven’t got enough income to pay for everything you want to, then you’ve got to work out what’s most important to you. First should come all necessary bills, rent, mortgage, food and clothing.
It’s always advisable to pay off any existing debts by prioritising which one has the highest interest rate.
Here are our top 10 tips to help you cut down on your spending habit:
- Sleep on it
If you really want something, sleep on it for a night. You may find it doesn’t seem as attractive the next day.
- What does it cost in work time?
If you’re tempted by an impulse buy, work out how long it would take you to earn that money in hours worked.
- Focus on your debts and savings
Work out how much longer it will take you to pay off your debt or increase your savings.
- Check your unused subscriptions
Do you have costly subscriptions for gyms, magazines or television channels which you never use? Ask yourself if you really need it and if you do, then look for a cheaper alternative.
- Plan your food
Set a budget, write a list and take a calculator with you when you go food shopping. By going to the supermarket just once a month you’ll be less likely to buy on impulse and for convenience. Remember to never go food shopping when you’re hungry!
- Choose the Cheaper Option
Try dropping one brand level on everything you buy. Then see if you can tell the difference. If not, stick with the cheaper one.
- Try online grocery shopping
If you can’t stick to a shopping list, try ordering your shopping online. It’s easier to stick to a budget as you get a running total, plus you won’t be tempted by the sights and sounds in the shop.
- Pay yourself first
Don’t forget the old adage to “pay yourself first” which means that when you get the chance, put something away into a savings account. Set up another account for bills and use this to make sure all your bills are paid. With the money left over you can pay yourself a set amount which is yours to spend as you like.
- Take the ‘No-Spend Day’ challenge
Have at least one day per week where you spend nothing other than budgeted-for things.
- Don’t Go Shopping!
It’s as easy as that. Avoid the temptation and do something else, whether its spring cleaning the house and selling unwanted items online, bulk cooking and freezing meals for the week. There are plenty of money-saving ideas out there.
To find out how you can save or borrow responsibly, contact your nearest credit union.