Last week’s topic was building a budget. I know that I finished the post by telling you not to worry about controlling your spending- that it was more important instead to get the hang of recording your spending and setting up your budget correctly.
Well the other shoe has dropped! Now is the time to start thinking about controlling your spending, in an effort to make all the budget numbers balance correctly. (You might be wondering if this post is applicable for you, even if you spend less than you earn. And the answer is congratulations! But don’t you want to save more?)
It’s not easy to control your spending, especially when you’re not a naturally frugal person, like myself. So a few years, I developed a series of several different systems, or tricks, to help me not spend quite so much.
No Spend days.
I try to have one, two or three no spend days a week, where I spend no money. Obviously the more no spend days I have, the less money I spend, but I find that by telling myself that I won’t spend money on Wednesdays, for example, I develop a different mindset in regards to spending.
I only go grocery shopping twice a month, on Thursdays. I am forced to spend less money than if I went shopping more often. And there’s the added benefit of getting â‚¬5 in store credit for every â‚¬50 I spend. Schedules are really key in making no spend days work, as I can always tell myself that I can stretch things a little further, a little longer.
Buying only from shopping lists.
This one is an oldie but goodie. I know I spend a lot less when I have a list than when I don’t.
A little mad money.
Give yourself a little slush fund. A little bit of spendable money can go a long way towards scratching that spending itch. If you keep it in cash, you’ll probably even find that you’re that much more reluctant to spend it, and watch it disappear out of your wallet. My husband and I have designated sums every month, and we’re not responsible to each other for how we spend it. Since implementing this system I feel like I spend a lot less on ‘little stuff’. Just make sure to keep it reasonable- we each get â‚¬20 a month.
Don’t buy anything though! I love shopping online. I go to Old Navy, or J. Crew or any number of my favorite stores. I fill my shopping basket, and spend hours (it seems) filling my basket with fun finds! But then I click on the big red X at the top of the screen, and close the browser window. I have had a vicarious shopping thrill… without spending any money!
How do you control your spending?