Everyone is in a different financial situation during these current economic times and yet there is one strategy that everyone can benefit from: building better spending habits. Changing your behaviors and building smart money habits can pay big dividends.
What is the first step in building better spending habits?
It starts with understanding your current situation. Review the last few months of spending and put each expense into two categories, needs versus wants. This effort is to help you determine your true level of needs based spending versus spending on wants that can be reduced.
Should the spending on needs be considered a fixed amount?
Not necessarily and especially not without further review. There are certain needs based spending items that might be able to be lowered through a combination of better buying habits and making smarter choices. For example, comparison shopping to find the best prices on food is a way to lower a needs based expense.
Is there one type of spending that can more troublesome to control?
Online spending is one of the most difficult, because whatever we look for or even put in our cart, we are going to get reminders about that product. The other reason it is hard to control is that it is so easy to actually make a purchase online that a couple of swipes or keystrokes and the purchase is done.
What is the most effective way to combat overspending online?
Remove all of your credit cards from any online shopping sites that you currently use. The simple act of having to enter your card each time you shop will make it more difficult to complete the transaction and give you time to decide if the purchase should actually be made.
How can a person know if their spending habits have actually changed?
The very best measure is to compare your next 90 days of spending to the previous 90 days of spending. As they say, numbers don’t lie. This comparison will give you actionable feedback and allow you to know if you need to do more or if your habits actually have been improved.