Do you look back at the end of each month scratching your head over where all your money went? You’re not alone. According to Mental Floss, we spend $62 billion on cosmetics, $2.7 billion at food trucks, $80.5 billion on lottery tickets and $2.4 billion on supermarket hot dogs in a single year. Wow! If you’re overspending, you may be looking for ways to cut back, and these realistic tips might help.
Make a Budget and Stick to It
If you have trouble with spending, a budget is your best friend. Establish yours with all your monthly expenses included, even those you wouldn’t normally track such as hair appointments, eating out, your morning coffee, etc. Figure out how much you’re going to spend on each category and begin using the envelope system.
The envelope system allows you to put a specified amount of money into an envelope (or virtual envelope) for a specific expenditure, such as clothes. When you’re at your limit for the month, you’ll get an alert. And that’s it, you can’t purchase any more clothing until the balance refreshes next month.
Sleep on Large Purchases
Avoid making an impulse purchase by sleeping on it. Wait for a few days whenever you have the urge to open your wallet, especially on something that’s expensive. Take the time to decide whether you can afford it. If you still want to purchase the item after a few days and have the extra money to pay for it, then you can get it without feeling guilty.
Shop With a List
We each spend an average of $5,400 per year on impulse buys, says CNBC. That’s a lot of money! A great way to avoid making these unnecessary purchases is to shop with a list. Create one beforehand and don’t purchase anything that’s not on it. If you don’t like the idea of not being able to pick up something special when you see it, set aside a specific amount of money for items that aren’t on the list.
Cancel Catalogs and Emails
Marketing emails and store catalogs are vying for your dollars. Don’t give in to them! Avoid making unplanned purchases by canceling tempting catalogs, newsletters and emails. This practice also extends to friends and family who always have something to sell. If you find that you’re spending too much money buying Mary Kay, Pampered Chef or nutritional supplements, make it so you can’t see your friends’ posts in your social media feed. You can always pop over to see them on purpose whenever you want to.
Try Trading and Bartering
Do you love free stuff? Do you have anything you’ve been meaning to drop off at your local Goodwill? Try trading or bartering what you have for something new. Seek out other participants using Craigslist, online community forums and social media marketplaces. Remember to play it safe with your personal info.
You don’t have to make huge changes to the way you live to cut your spending. Even small changes can lead to savings that really add up. Try implementing one or more of these tips to stop overspending and start saving for your future.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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