Did you know that women were more likely to admit they have problems controlling their spending habits than men – their vices being clothes, shoes and accessories?
Women are often the head of the household and make financial decisions with respect to the day-to-day responsibilities. This is why it’s important to be aware of your cash flow habits because it can affect your and your family’s ability to reach future financial goals.
Acknowledging one has this habit is one thing, but stopping it is another. Below are a couple of tips to help you get a better handle on spending.
Be aware of what triggers your spending
Almost always, there’s an emotional trigger that causes us to buy things that our rational mind says we don’t need. If you can identify what these are, you can remove some of the temptation to spend money.
So ask yourself: What type of surroundings make you want to spend? Is it being in shopping malls or being on holidays? Do you spend more when you’re with friends? Do you tend to spend money when you’re really happy or very sad?
If you said yes to any of the questions above, there’s a few things you an do:
- Limit your visits to shopping malls and if you must go take only a small amount of cash with you.
- Write a list of items you need (not want) and only buy those. Don’t get sucked into sales.
- Create a budget for spending on holidays for shopping, entertainment and extra-curricular activities
- Tell your friend(s) you’re watching your money so they’ll support you. Who knows, they may follow your lead.
- Sleep on your decision. Give yourself at least 24hrs to decide whether you want to go ahead with a purchase. When emotions run high or low, it tends to affect our ability to rationalise our choices.
Use cash instead of credit cards
Convenience has a downside. The problem with plastic is that when you actually buy something, it doesn’t always register that you’ll have to pay for it at some point. This could lead to a nasty credit card balance that you can’t manage. And the longer you wait to pay it off, the greater the interest charges. That means you’ll end up paying much more than what was on the price tag!
With cash, you can physically see how your purchases eat into your pocket and you force yourself to only spend what you have. If you find yourself running low funds, you’ll need to figure out a way to make the money last.
Cash is effective, even though it can be a pain.
So make it a rule to withdraw a certain amount from the ATM every week or two weeks. Put it in an envelope and earmark where most of the money will be used (for example, transportation, groceries, household items, entertainment). Doing this will make you conscious of how you’re spending the cash and prevent you for making needless purchases.
Make every dollar count
It’s so easy to convince ourselves that something’s only $5 or $10 to justify a purchase. Here’s the thing – a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. The ten dollars here and there over weeks, months, and years can quickly add up to ten or twenty thousand dollars – money that can help you pay for that dream home or vacation. Don’t discount the impact small changes can make.
Spending money may buy you happiness in the short-run but long term it can hurt your ability to get what you really want. So the next time you’re tempted to spend on something you’re not sure you need, think about the above tips. And if you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself – good habits take time to form. Just don’t give up!