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Discipline Yourself to Spend Less

Jul 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.

Family life brings lots of unexpected expenses, so living paycheck to paycheck puts the entire family in a precarious place financially. Spending less money on a monthly basis will help prevent you from using money apportioned to the payment of bills to care for emergency situations, such as a car breaking down or children getting ill.

Spending less money every month can only be done by instituting a financial plan for the family, starting with the budget. Although creating a budget may seem to take a lot of time the first time you sit down to do it, it will become easier each time you revise it.

Budgets are useless if the people who establish them do not stick to their limits. Make sure you are held responsible by another member of the family if you go beyond the confines set by the family budget for some reason.

Try to stay in line with your budget from the very beginning of the month. Remember that habits of any kind, including financial ones, are made or broken in just two short weeks. Making a lunch at home instead of eating out during the workday will help you as well. Shop with a grocery list so youre sure to have everything you need and prepare your food the night before work.

Spending less requires changes in other areas besides the finances. Lunches for the kids and yourself can be fixed at night so no one forgets in the morning. Thaw out a meat for dinner in the morning so there is no excuse to eat out. Leave notes on the bathroom mirror and the refrigerator if you have to until you get the hang of the new way of doing things.

Don't run out armed with your credit card or checkbook each time anyone wants something. Ask if it is necessary to have that particular item. Search around the house first to see if you already have it. I seem to buy a new pack of crayons each time my kids have a project. At the end of the school year, I find at least five boxes of crayons lying around. I would only have invested in one if I had taken the time to look. Okay, crayons aren't that expensive, but it is the discipline that we are going for here.

Don't alter your new spending habits when you get a raise at work or a holiday bonus. Treat the extra money as a way to save more. Don't include it in the monthly budget. Simply take the cash and put it in the savings account.

Although it does require time and effort, spending habits can be changed when you put effort into reaching this beneficial goal.
About the Author
Consolidation isn't your only choice for dealing with student debt. Another effective way to get your debt paid off faster is to snowball credit bills. Find out more about this simple process on the Debtopedia website at http://www.debtopedia.com
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