If your spending is out of control and you know that you need some help, you have come to the right place! Do you need to know how to stop spending money and get control of your budget? Are you overspending every month? Let’s stop that unnecessary spending and get control of your money today!
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How to Stop Spending Money and Get Control of your Budget
I used to be a shopper and a spender. Oh my, could I shop. I loved shopping. Clothes, home items, vehicles, houses, I loved to shop. And I loved to spend. I put us in some serious debt at the beginning of our marriage. My spending habits were out of control. It has taken us many years to climb out of consumer debt, we are almost completely finished paying it all off. It has been a long haul. I have had a lot of regret and have done a lot of soul searching during this journey to becoming debt free. These are my top tips and tricks that have helped me over the past 15 years to get control of my spending and take back our budget.
Shop with a List
How many times have you gone into the grocery store for just a few things and come out spending over $100 bucks? Many times, right? Yep, me too. I love Target. One thing, yeah right!
So make a promise to yourself right now: ONLY go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping) with your well thought out list. If you are going grocery shopping, this is after you have created your meal plan (more on that below) for the week. You are only purchasing what you need for this week. You are going to get your spending habits back in control!
Only buy what is on that list and nothing more. Find a great deal? Go back the next day if you really cannot live without that fantastic deal, but do not go over your budget that you set for yourself on that shopping trip.
Cash only – the Envelope System
Do you overspend on credit cards or even your debit card? Do you think, well I have this extra $300 in my checking account so I can use just a little or buy that extra pair of shoes? Yea, I know the feeling and I used to do that too, way too many times to count.
I started using the cash only envelope system for spending money. It saved my butt more times than I can count. Every week after I create my budgeting/spending plan, I would go to the bank and get cash out for groceries, haircuts, clothes, shoes, entertainment, misc, anything that I know that I need cash for. Then I stick that cash in the corresponding envelope. Now, I might not use all of that cash every week, but I do budget it every week. So I have a stash of cash for clothes the next time we need to make a purchase. Or the next time my kids need haircuts, I already have the cash and I do not have to wonder where I am going to pull that money from in our budget.
You can print and make your own fun cash envelopes at home – here is a great FREE printable for the cash envelope system.
Stop going out to eat
Hey, I love going out to eat and detest cooking. So I completely get you here. But this can get out of control so easily. Set a budget every month. $100, $25, whatever your amount, stick to it! You know when this really made a difference to me? When I thought of that $100 per month as $1200 per year, that yearly number is what put this spending into perspective. That is a lot of money!
Stop getting that $4 cup of coffee every single day. That $4 cup of coffee can add up to over $1000 a year! Yikes! I am not saying don’t treat yourself once in a while. But every day? Buy a Keurig and make that coffee at home for a tenth of the price. Don’t go into the convenience store when you stop for gas. Don’t buy that $1.69 bottle of soda while you are in the check out line.
Track all of your expenses
Write down every penny you spend for the next month. Yes, I mean every penny. This will really help you drill down on exactly what you are spending your money on. Keep a little notebook with you for the next 30 days and write down every purchase. Make sure to keep all of your receipts as well. Then once a week, enter all of your expenditures into a spreadsheet. At the end of the month, you will know exactly where all of your money went and it will be easier to curb some of your spending.
Create a Budget
You absolutely need a budget or spending plan to control your spending. You have to tell your money where to go, right? How else can you get control if you do not plan out your spending for the week? I highly recommend YNAB, You Need A Budget. I have used it for many years and it has made a huge difference in our lives. We went from being months behind on bills and never having enough to being a month ahead and putting money in buckets for future spending. I cannot stress enough how much a budget and sticking to it will change your life.
Make sure you have a category for fun money – even if it is only $20 a month.
Create a Meal Plan
I love meal planning! But I will tell you a secret, I don’t like cooking. Ha!
Meal planning will keep your grocery budget in check which will help curb your out of control spending on food. It is so easy to meal plan, sign up to get my FREE meal planning workbook here:
Avoid your Triggers
If you are shopping online, keep it in your shopping cart for 24 hours and give yourself some time to really think about that purchase. If it is a major purchase, talk to your spouse/significant other and think about it for a week. Don’t go into the store where you know for certain you will go over budget and spend more money than you have. Don’t just go to the mall to walk around.
30 day No Spend Challenge
After you have gone through and implemented all of the above, try to go 30 days without spending any money except for essentials and your bills. By not spending money, you will get creative with the food you have in your pantry and make meals from scratch. You can declutter and reorganize what you already have. Sometimes we all have to hit the reset button and slow down a bit.
When my teenagers started working, they were so excited to have their own money that they could do whatever they wanted with. The first thing I told them was to weigh your spending vs. hours worked. How many hours is this going to cost me? That will help put many of your purchases into perspective.
Just Start Somewhere
It has to start with you. You have to want to control your spending. You have to want to change your spending habits. You have to face your fears and the fact that you are spending money that you do not have.
It is not easy facing any money crisis. If you need accountability, please join my Facebook group, it is a closed group so not one of your friends or family can see what we talk about. Do you need support or guidance on this journey? I have been there. I have cried over not having enough money for groceries. I have had the electric company at the door wanting a check TODAY or they were going to shut the lights off. I have had to tell my kids NO countless times. I have had many sleepless nights. It is no fun. Let’s work on this together. There is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you that.