Discipline Yourself to Spend Less

No one wants to go into debt. We try to avoid it if we can, but we fall into the traps of credit cards and delayed payment specials so easily. Curbing our spending requires discipline and an honest effort.

We have to learn to live within our means. This does not mean just having enough money to pay our bills- it means much more, such as having money in a savings account, and emergency money put away just in case.

Living paycheck to paycheck can be dangerous, especially if you have a family. Children get sick; cars break down. Taking money from the bills is not a wise decision, but if you are in a bind, you do what you have to do. The way to break this cycle is to spend less money each month.

Everyone wants to know how to do that. Discipline begins with a plan. A sound financial plan begins with a family budget. The first budget will be the hardest to develop, but once you get the hang of it, it won’t be so time-consuming the next time.

Budgets are great, but if you don’t use them properly, they aren’t useful. You must keep yourself accountable to someone and have them make sure you are sticking to it. It needs to be someone who isn’t afraid to say something if they see you blowing the budget.

Specialists in behavior say it takes about 2 weeks to make or break a habit. At the beginning of the month, try to start your new budget. If you usually eat out for lunch, try preparing your lunch for a month. Remember to include items for lunch on your grocery list and to pack your lunch the night before work.

Spending less requires changes in other areas besides the finances. Lunches for the kids and yourself can be fixed at night so no one forgets in the morning. Thaw out a meat for dinner in the morning so there is no excuse to eat out. Leave notes on the bathroom mirror and the refrigerator if you have to until you get the hang of the new way of doing things.

Get out of the habit of pulling out your checks or credit card whenever someone in your household wants something. You need to decide if that item is necessary. You might find with some searching that you already have that item. Keep your house well organized so you can actually find items, rather than needing to go out and find things you misplace.

Don’t alter your new spending habits when you get a raise at work or a holiday bonus. Treat the extra money as a way to save more. Don’t include it in the monthly budget. Simply take the cash and put it in the savings account.

You won’t be able to change your spending habits over night. It takes some time to change an over-shopper into a frugal one, but it can be done with some work.

6 Comments on “Discipline Yourself to Spend Less”

  1. 1 Carnival of Financial Learning #15 - Google Timeline Edition | Financial Learn said at 10:40 am on September 7th, 2008:

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  2. 2 1st Edition! Bankruptcy And Debt Bloggers Carnival. said at 4:53 am on September 8th, 2008:

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  3. 3 Carnival of Debt Reduction » Blog Archive » Welcome to a windy and rainy Carnival of Debt Reduction said at 6:10 am on September 8th, 2008:

    […] suggests disciplining yourself to spend less.  (Spending more than one brings in gets one in debt, […]

  4. 4 Frugal Babe » Archive » Welcome To The 142nd Festival Of Frugality said at 10:54 pm on September 8th, 2008:

    […] Debtopedia, you’ll find an article about how to build habits that will create the discipline you need to spend less, and get out of debt (or keep from going into debt in the first […]

  5. 5 MyDebtRefinance said at 1:04 am on September 19th, 2008:

    Making a budget involving the family can create awareness about the family expenses. If the kids are big enough to know some maths this can be a very good family activity.

    In the long term it can create the habits for a better future for the kids.

  6. 6 Debt Stinks said at 9:59 am on October 3rd, 2008:

    Yep, that’s the “secret” to getting out of debt. I just wish it was easier to do. Writing it down helps. So does making a commitment (if there is a family involved, you can do it together, even better!)

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