Do you experience that sinking feeling in your stomach when your bank statement comes each month? How about your credit card bill? It’s a common problem: your bank account balance is always lower than it should be and your credit card balance is higher than you anticipated.
You just aren’t sure where all of your money is really going.
If this accurately describes your finances and your life right now, it’s time for you to take control over your spending. Take these four steps today to get a head-start on a more successful financial season.
Make a basic budget.
There’s no way around creating a budget if you want to really have control over your spending. You need to know where your dollars go each month and start redirecting them into more productive categories.
List out all of the bills you have alongside your current income. Then you will see what money you have left over that could be considered expendable income (the money you can spend on things you want instead of things you need).
Leave the credit cards at home.
Cash is king when it comes to getting your budget under control. When there’s no plastic in your wallet, you will be forced to rely on the cold hard cash in your billfold. At the beginning of the week, get the money your budget says you can afford to spend out of the ATM and then leave all other cards at home.
It would be too embarrassing to get to the register only to realize you don’t have enough money to purchase the item. This tip forces you into considering whether a purchase is really worth it and whether or not it is truly affordable within your budget.
Make plans with yourself after work.
If you’re always tempted to pop into your favorite shops on the way home from work, it may be time to find something else for you to do. Stop at the gym in your apartment complex or make a plan to cook an elaborate dinner for yourself at home. Having a specific place to be or activity to perform directly after work can keep you out of the shops and leave more money in your wallet.
Take inventory of what you have at home.
After a long week, it’s tempting to dial the number for your favorite takeout place while you sit in front of the television. Unfortunately, going out to eat can really put a dent in your budget. It’s time to take inventory of what you already have in your home and your pantry. Do you have a lot of canned goods, boxed meals, or freezer meals you could eat instead?
Do this for every area where you’re tempted to spend. Chances are you have plenty of food, clothing, household gadgets, and more to prevent you from making a new purchase for quite some time.
Your dollars will go where you tell them to, so get a head start on getting spending under control now with these suggestions.