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How to Teach Yourself to Spend Less Money

Apr 12, 2008
No one wants to go into debt. We try to avoid it if we can, but we fall into the traps of credit cards and delayed payment specials so easily. Curbing our spending requires discipline and an honest effort.

As consumers, we have to learn to live within our means. This is more than having enough money in a paycheck to pay our bills. Financial security is having something in a savings account and money left over from our paychecks to use in an emergency if we need it.

If you live paycheck to paycheck, this is very dangerous, particularly if you have a family. Things happen that you need extra money to pay for- such as a vehicle breaking down, or a child getting sick. If you don't have the money to pay for these things, you will often have to take money from the bills, which is not good. In order to break this vicious cycle, you need to learn how to spend less money each month.

Everyone wants to know how to do that. Discipline begins with a plan. A sound financial plan begins with a family budget. The first budget will be the hardest to develop, but once you get the hang of it, it won't be so time-consuming the next time.

Budgets are great, but if you don't use them properly, they aren't useful. You must keep yourself accountable to someone and have them make sure you are sticking to it. It needs to be someone who isn't afraid to say something if they see you blowing the budget.

It takes two weeks to make or break a habit. Start at the beginning of a month and try out your budget. If you eat out for lunch at work, why not prepare your lunch for a month. Include lunch items on the grocery list and pack your lunch the night before.

In order to spend less, you also need to make other changes. Remember to make lunches for the kids as well the evening before. If you thaw out meat in the morning for that evenings dinner, you won't be tempted to get take-out. Leave yourself notes around the house, car and work until you get used to your new routine.

Get out of the habit of pulling out your checks or credit card whenever someone in your household wants something. You need to decide if that item is necessary. You might find with some searching that you already have that item. Keep your house well organized so you can actually find items, rather than needing to go out and find things you misplace.

If you happen to get as lucky as to get a raise, don't increase your spending; treat the extra income as a way to save more money. Do not include the increase in the family budget. Use the extra cash to put into savings.

Spending habits don't change overnight. It takes time to change a shopaholic into a frugal fan, but it can be done when you try.
About the Author
Is debt consolidation the right solution for your credit problems? Find out how it can affect your financial health at the Debtopedia website. Visit http://www.debtopedia.com for more information and to get a free copy of my report on credit card debt.
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