Getting something your heart desires is wonderful. Satisfying that dreamy urge feels pretty good. The endorphins rush in and you’re ready to walk out the door to enjoy a fun shopping splurge with a credit card in hand. And a list is stored somewhere in your pocket or mind or wherever.
You know exactly what you’re getting because who really has time to plan out their purchases ahead of time. Maybe next time.
I get it. We’ve all been there, myself included. But here’s the thing.
If it’s not a need that positively benefits your life, family, kids or health and guarantees long-term happiness (perhaps a few months or years), then why get it?
Things are just things. Things cost money. More things cost more money. More and more things lead to more spending which in the long run leads to stress, clutter and the one thing we all do not like: debt.
No one likes debt but most of us have it. It’s alright. We’re human. Debt is a part of our lives. But as long as we take steps to get rid of it, we are headed on the right path.
Here are a few tips that can help us get there.
1. Track All Your Expenses
Budgeting wisely is key towards eliminating stress and getting yourself out of financial strains. Tracking all of your expenses is a must when you’re trying to reach financial freedom. Every transaction counts.
Every dollar you spend has to be accounted for somehow.
And one of the best ways to do this is having a visual picture of where your money goes. Below is a link to a free app that you can download on your phone or computer that helps with budgeting.
It is amazing!
It’s free, easy to set up and will change your life. It will show you exactly how and where you spend your money. It will help you budget in no time. But be patient. Budgeting takes time and there are no shortcuts when it comes to managing your money.
Once you set it up, I promise it will simplify your life and make you happier. You will see exactly where your money goes and the way you handle your money will change. For the better, of course.
Give it a few months and you’ll be a pro!
Trust me. It has made a huge difference in our lives and it will do the same for you.
2. Use Cash Often
Keep your credit card at home and use cash when purchasing the basics: food, gas, toiletries, clothes, etc. There’s something magical about using cash. Suddenly, that 20$ bill becomes a big deal. And it is. You can do a lot with just one Andrew Jackson bill.
I have purchased enough groceries for 3 days many times without starving my family for just $20. And those meals were very green, filling and yummy. You can do it, too. Your family will still love you even if they have cucumbers and veggie taco platters for 3 days straight.
They will be happy, smiling and will feel lucky to have you as their mom. All because of a thrifty heart of gold you carry. Rock on!
3. Downsize To One Credit Card
Not all credit cards are horrible. Some have 0% APRs if paid off fully at the end of each billing cycle. Others give you points for your purchases which could be redeemed for gift cards or cash. And some like the fidelity rewards credit card automatically contribute a small amount to your kids’ 529 college savings accounts.
That’s pretty cool. You spend on necessities now and your kids get a portion of it when they turn 18 and move out. It’s a win-win for all.
This one is great!
It doesn’t hurt to have one credit card. If you use it for the basics or emergencies, you’ll be fine. And paying it off entirely every month is key. That will keep you from piling on debt and frustrating you when your payment due date approaches.
Keep your spending simple and don’t let that shiny credit card take over your life. Credit cards can be trouble makers if not handled properly. Just try not to depend on them.
Have one and you’ll be alright. Just remember to pay it off every month.
4. Don’t Let Others Influence You
Try not to get consumed by media or those who push for better deals. Delete spam phone calls immediately or better yet, don’t answer them. People who are pushy over the phone, in person or online are very good at pressuring you to get something you don’t need.
They pretend to be nice at first and then ask for your money at the end for a service or product you are perfectly fine without having.
Those kind of people love to ramble on about great deals, promotions, free offers and so forth. They are tricking you to spend your money, not save it. So don’t let them. Stay clear from their schemes and don’t let their sneaky kindness fool you.
Ask yourself questions when approaching a sale or must have item. Just because others have something doesn’t mean you need it, too. It’s alright if your friends have the newest electronics, the trendiest accessories or a new car and you don’t.
It’s not a competition. It’s a lifestyle you’re choosing to live wisely. Especially when you’re trying to pay off debt and making the right financial decisions is your top priority.
Keep it up. The road to financial freedom is nearby.
5. Limit Emotional Shopping
Try not to shop when you’re bored, sad, angry or hungry. When your emotions start to guide your decision making, you’re more likely to overspend. It happens to all of us and it’s understandable.
Just do your best and avoid shopping sprees or running errands when you’re emotional. Pretending to need something when in reality, you don’t. You’re just bored, upset or hungry. Plain and simple.
Redirect yourself. Go on a walk, head to a park, drink some green tea or call a friend. Listen to some of your favorite tunes or close your eyes and meditate.
Within minutes, you’ll forget about shopping. Your urge to spend money will vanish. At least for a while. So try it. You’ll feel better and save money doing it.
6. Be Honest With Yourself
Be honest with your spending. Prioritize your needs and wants. Be patient and stay true to your intentions when shopping. Don’t let others influence your financial decisions.
You are in charge of your money. You work hard to earn it so you decide how to spend it. If you don’t need something at this moment, then don’t get it.
And above all, don’t fool yourself into thinking you must have something right now. Think it over, talk about it or wait a few days before purchasing anything beyond your budget.
What truly matters in my life? People and experiences or things?
How should I treat my money today? The money that I busted my butt earning? Worked overtime for? And drove hours in traffic for?
The answer lies within you.
The way I see it, experiences create lasting memories, fill up photo albums and amplify your life. Materialism does the opposite. So choose your purchases wisely. Create a folder of memories you’ll revisit often as you get older.
Start capturing those moments with the people you love.
You’ll be so thankful you did.