Money isn’t everything until you don’t have it. It’s hard not to spend money constantly when it seems that almost everywhere you look there’s a new product you’re being encouraged to buy. It’s even harder in this era of subscription-based services where we sign ourselves up for something, and the money quietly disappears out of our bank accounts each month without our even noticing. Good spending habits make it easier to save money and protect ourselves from financial distress in the long run, and they’re not so hard to develop if you get in the habit.
Ditch the bad spending habits
The first habit to get into is to track your expenses. If you’re wondering how to control spending habits, the first step is to examine what you’re spending money on and how much you are spending. Once you see your expenses, it becomes easier to keep track and change your ways. There are heaps of great finance apps that can help you track and manage your money.
It’s not so much the money you purposely set aside for savings that end up making a difference to your finances: you’ve already accounted for that and know where it’s going. What changes our bank balance is the money that escapes without our notice and quickly adds up. It’s the bottle of water we bought at the coffee shop rather than the dollar store next door, the subscription we allowed to renew before contemplating if we wanted it.
Scrutinise your bank statements
Once you scrutinise your bank statements, you’ll see where your money is going. This brings us to our second habit – be cautious with autopay and auto-renew. Even though setting expenses like utilities to autopay can be a good idea, there are many services we often financially commit to and then forget about. Once you find a job, you likely won’t remember the employment opportunity website membership you paid for. If you want to keep most of your automatic payment settings as they are, then consider signing up to receive notification emails when the bill clears your bank account, even though you’ll only find out about the expense after the fact, you’ll at least have the warning to cancel the subscription for next time.
And, Finally, Keep Looking for the Finish Line
The third habit is to keep your goals in mind. Are your spending habits bringing you closer to your goals, or taking you further away from them? Are you a business owner and is your spending harming your business finances and the future of your business? It’s easy to spend money when we are only focusing on what we want at that very moment, but when we’re considering the full consequences of our decisions, it becomes easier. Many of us already feel buried financially and sometimes, even though it seems illogical, spending money and having things we felt were off-limits to us eases that pain.
However, when we shift our perspective and view our spending as obstructive and learn to take comfort in saving money and what that will do for us in the future, we reap the benefits later on. We all have our reasons for spending money, and the world can seem judgmental of all but the absolute thriftiest among us.
At the end of the day, we don’t establish good spending habits to meet some requirement placed upon us by others; we do it to make our own lives better. If you feel that your bad spending habits might be controlling your life, there are options like spending addiction and shopping addiction therapy that can help.
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