Have your credit card bills arrived reminding you how much your overspent on Christmas?
Have you balanced your checkbook lately?
Is your wallet begging for mercy?
Join the crowd! This is the time of year when we resolve to get our finances in order and stop frivolous spending.
It’s time to put your wallet on a crash diet, it’s time for frugal living 101, it’s time for a budget diet!
5 Tips to Jump Start Your Budget Diet
- Avoid Stores – This one sounds silly, but it’s true. If you keep yourself away from stores, you won’t be tempted to spend money. It’s just like when you’re on a food diet, and you avoid the dessert buffet! If shopping is your favorite “hobby”, try something new this year like riding bikes, taking a walk with a friend, attending a free class or event in your town, going to the library or just relaxing and reading a book.
- Make Lists – OK, OK…so it’s not possible to totally avoid stores. I realize you need to go to the grocery to buy food and maybe Target for some essentials, but you can curb your spending by making a list and sticking to it. By the way, the easiest way to make a grocery list is to plan your meals. Need meal planning tips? You’ll love this article: Meal Planning Made Simple: 7 Days, 7 Ways.
- Is There a Cheaper Way? – Frugal folks pride themselves on knowing how to get just about anything for less. A few tricks of the trade: compare prices, shop thrift stores, use coupon codes and coupons, shop with discounted gift cards and earn cash back for online purchases. If any of this lingo is foreign to you, take a moment to read my most popular article: Cut Your Spending by $400 a Month – you’ll discover nearly 100 ways to cut your spending, so consider this article your frugal living 101 class.
- Needs vs. Wants – Before you buy anything, get in the habit of asking yourself if it’s a need or a want. This is a basic lesson we all learned in Kindergarten, and it’s easy to forget. You may want that new pair of shoes, but I bet you have a closet full of shoes, so they really aren’t a need.
- Use Cash – Do you have a weekly “allowance” that you use for groceries and errands? If not, take some time to establish a written household budget, and set aside your weekly “allowance” for food and fun. Click here if you need help establishing a budget. Once you know your weekly allowance, get that amount out in cash each week, and when it’s gone…it’s gone. Another frugal tip, put the cash in an envelope and use the outside of the envelope to write down every expense, so you don’t have to ask yourself (or tell your husband) at the end of the week where it all went!
Please leave a comment to share your favorite ways to stop frivolous spending.
Image courtesy of stock images, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.