Many people try to save money by cutting costs and curbing their spending urges. Unfortunately, such a hard-line approach to saving money is a lot like crash dieting – it’s stressful and depressing.
And, worst of all, after you can’t take anymore, you tend to binge on the very thing you’ve been trying to curb, leaving you in an even worse position than you were when you started out.
Can I make a suggestion? Instead of trying to stop your spending cold turkey, learn how to spend money AND save it at the same time. Much like smart dieting, it’s a way of striking a balance between saving money and getting the spending buzz we’re so desperately addicted to.
Here are three ways to do that:
#1: Use Cash.
The problem with credit cards is that they can spell financial disaster in one fell swipe. But when you use cash, you have a tangible limit on how much money you can spend. As a result, you budget your money more carefully and make smarter purchases.
My advice: When you DO have credit cards, promise yourself to use only a maximum of 30% of the available balance – and be sure to pay in full, and on time, every single month. But use cash for the bulk of your spending – if you can manage it, keep your credit cards at home. (And if you’re in massive debt, cut them up into pieces until you pay everything off.)
If you don’t like carrying cash around, then here’s another option: Use debit cards, because you can’t spend what you don’t have with debit cards. Ask your employer if your salary can be directly deposited into your debit card account, and then use the card for your purchases.
#2: Set a Time and Budget Limit for Shopping.
When shopping for anything, make a list of things you need to buy and stick to it – no side trips to the department store! Also, set a budget limit and commit to NOT spending any more than that.
Taking five minutes to make the list and limit can save you hundreds of dollars a month, plus a great deal of stress.
#3: Reward Yourself.
Whenever you successfully save money – such as by getting out of the supermarket or mall within the time limit you gave yourself, or when you successfully stayed within budget for the month – treat yourself to a well-deserved reward.
Buy something nice that costs only a small fraction of the money you saved. As much as you can, buy only one item. The next time you successfully save money, reward yourself again.
The key is to become your own #1 fan when it comes to your financial decisions. Cheer yourself on as you make better and smarter financial decisions. The more you reward yourself, the more you hammer the good habits home.
So remember: Don’t go on a money-diet. Instead, get money-smart. Keep these three tips in mind and start spending money AND saving it at the same time.
For help increasing your credit score to save even more, contact Credit Absolute for a free consultation today!