I’ve been there, wondering how in the world am I going to save a little money on what I make.
I figured it out in my late twenties, started saving some of my paycheck automatically and could only spend what was left. Figuring out how to do with a little less! I didn’t have extra money to blow on frivolous things. Does this sound like something you could do?
This holds true for people of all ages. Everyday I see people lose the battle to impulse shopping. It’s so easy to whip out a credit or debit card. Having plastic readily available means seldom if ever having to say “no” to impulse buys. All those small impulse buys are what keep most people from having any money left over to save or invest. What could be more impulsive that Amazon’s “one click purchasing“? Today’s young adults seem to use only plastic or shop online. Will they ever be able to say “no”? If you cannot say “no” to impulse purchases, the best answer is to start or increase what you save every month automatically.
For those of you that want help slowing you spending take a look at these three ideas:
#1 Keep on driving.
The first idea I recommend is to simply keep on driving. Stay out of the store(s) and then you obviously can not shop. This may sound easier than it seems when every window you drive past has a S A L E sign in it. This could mean driving right past the coffee house, convenient store or strip mall. We are all creatures of habit and I recommend you try avoiding impulse buying, by simply staying away from the stores that tempt you the most. When my wife doesn’t want to spend money, she takes it a step further and doesn’t leave the house.
#2 Dare to spend actual cash, leave the plastic card at home.
Most people reading this can afford to pay off their monthly credit card bill, and that is actually a big part of the problem. When you can afford to pay your credit card bill every month, you don’t have to say “no”, to relatively to small impulsive purchases. Debit cards are only a little better. In that the money comes directly out of checking accounts. Try going for a week, with a cash allowance for the week in your wallet or purse. You will feel the pain of parting with actual cash and have a harder time spending it. You will say “no” to the impulsive purchases that would leave you without cash to spend on the things you really prioritize. Ideally, you would give yourself a his and/or hers weekly cash allowance. Every week to be used for ANY and EVERY purchase made at a register. This includes dining, retail stores, etc.
#3 Leave your money in the car.
If you want to take it a step further, leave your wallet or purse in the car when you go shopping. Or only bring enough to pay for what you went to the store to get. It is true that many people walk into retail stores to shop (look around and maybe buy something). What if these shoppers left their money in the car forcing them to walk back outside and return before making the purchase? I know this may sound “radical”, but I promise you that it would greatly reduce impulse buying by allowing shoppers time to reconsider their potential purchase as they walk out to the car.
Those of you that are over sixty years old might be wondering. Why in the world I would take the time to write about something so obvious as controlling your expenses. If you surveyed your adult children you would find out how an entire generation of Americans have participated in years of uncontrolled spending, (whether they know it or not). Leading to inadequate retirement nest eggs.
#4 Destroy all but one credit card.
Why in the world do you need multiple credit cards for personal use? Try just using it for gas and travel. Give yourself a weekly cash allowance to pay for everything else. You’ll be very happy when you see your next credit bill and it’s tiny.
I’ve figured out these basic tricks to slow my spending and I hope you can do the same. Don’t forget to set up automated savings and investment deposits. Increase your net worth each month.