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Discipline Yourself to Spend Less

Presented By: EJ Cooksey | Thursday, July 15, 2010 | , , , , , , , | Comments

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.

As consumers, we have to learn to live within our means. This is more than having enough money in a paycheck to pay our bills. Financial security is having something in a savings account and money left over from our paychecks to use in an emergency if we need it.

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.
A budget is only as good as the people using it.
  • Keep yourself accountable to someone — your spouse, your friend, your parents. Have a person who will call you out if you are spending too much money.
It takes two weeks to make or break a habit.
  • Start at the beginning of a month and try out your budget. If you eat out for lunch at work, why not prepare your lunch for a month. Include lunch items on the grocery list and pack your lunch the night before.
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.
Don’t run out armed with your credit card or checkbook each time anyone wants something.
  • Ask if it is necessary to have that particular item. Search around the house first to see if you already have it. I seem to buy a new pack of crayons each time my kids have a project. At the end of the school year, I find at least five boxes of crayons lying around. I would only have invested in one if I had taken the time to look. Okay, crayons aren’t that expensive, but it is the discipline that we are going for here.
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.
Spending habits don’t change overnight. It takes time to change a shopaholic into a frugal fan, but it can be done when you try.

Recommended Product: Money Tree Personal Budgeting Software

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