Managing your budget and spending is tough. Temptation to buy is all around us. If you’re a spender, you’ll find it hard to resist the temptation to reach for your credit card every time you want something. You have trouble separating your wants from your needs and struggle to pay off the full balance on your credit card each month let alone save each month. If this sounds like you and you want to make a change, here are some simple tips to help you take control of your spending and guide you to better money management.
1. Write Down What You Want vs What You Need
Wants are not necessities. They belong in a wish list only to be purchased when you have extra money available or when you have intently saved money to purchase it. Creating a wish list is a great way to motivate you to save and be more conscious about spending, however, when your financial resources are limited, you need prioritize where your money is going.
If you’re a spender, you’ll find it hard to resist the temptation to reach for your credit card every time you want something.
2. Don’t Buy to Fill a Void
If you are an impulsive or emotional buyer, get help dealing with what is causing you to be unhappy. Buying materials things to resolve emotional issues is a temporary, short-term state of euphoria. You may likely experience buyer’s remorse when you realize that you really didn’t need what you bought and now you are in debt because you charged it on your credit card.
3. Set Aside an Allowance
Kids are hard to say “no” to when they want something. So aside from your wants, you also have to manage your kids’ wants. Set aside an allowance for miscellaneous purchases so you and your kids don’t feel completely deprived of little luxuries that are well deserved. There are simple inexpensive things you can do together that are enjoyable and free.
4. Don’t Bring Kids Shopping
To expand on point number 3, another way to control your spending is not to bring kids to the store with you or if you have to bring them with you, avoid going down the toy aisle. It’s difficult to deal with a screaming child throwing a tantrum in public so you will cave into buying them the toy they want.
Kids are influenced by advertising they see on TV, youtube or any other online medium. Marketing is designed to create demand and desire and it works well on kids so in order to prevent this situation from occurring, just avoid it. Don’t bring them to the store and turn on the ad blocker when online.
5. Shop with a List
Whether you are grocery shopping or shopping for clothes or household items, make a list of exactly what you need and beeline to those aisles. Resist the temptation to wander into areas that may encourage your impulsive buying. You may be one of those people who intend to go to the store with only 2 items to purchase then quickly realize that you have an armful of things by the time you get to the check out counter.
Be intentional when you shop and focus on the items on your list and stick to it. If you did forget writing down an item or two on your list, then you have good reason to buy it. Otherwise, your spending can go out of control.
6. Set Financial Goals
If you have a white board, set your financial goals both short term and long-term, to serve as a physical reminder of why you make little sacrifices. Write down your savings goal and investment goals and your projected timeline to achieve it. Then track your progress.
7. Track your Expenses
Along with creating a financial goal, track your budget. You can download apps to help you with managing your budget. Click here for the best apps for tracking your budget.
Single Parents have more financial challenges than dual income couples and must learn to do more with less. This means that your money needs to stretch a lot further but most importantly, you have to control how and when you spend. Your kids will learn from your habits so build some discipline around money management and you will find it easier to save and to achieve your financial goals.
As a single parent, I am not always strong enough to say no to my kids, I definitely miss having my partner around to be a strict parent. But this article has made me realize that now I have to play good cop and bad cop at the same time and control my spending for their future.