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.