Credit card bills and bank statements got you spooked this Halloween season? If so, then it might be time to explore tips for reducing your spending and paying down your debts. It’s easier (and less scary) than you think, and our experts at Morgan & Morgan have some excellent tips to help you get started.
Review Spending Habits
Start by getting an idea of what areas you need to reign in your spending. A good way to do this is to print out copies of your recent months’ bank and credit card statements. Tally up your total spend per-month in various categories, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, entertainment and the like.
Set Realistic Goals
Next, make note of areas where you’re spending more than you’d like, or areas where you know you could cut back. For example, are you spending $500 a month on entertainment (eating out, going to the movies, shopping, etc.), when you thought you were spending more like $200? Set realistic goals to cut back on this spending, such as limiting yourself to eating out only once a week, or only going to the movies once per month.
Take Out Spending Money
When you have debit and credit cards in your wallet, it’s easy to overspend without even thinking about it. Reduce the temptation to spend by actually going to the ATM each week and withdrawing a set amount of money. This will be your spending money for the week. When you go out, leave your debit and credit cards at home; instead, bring only your cash out with you. This will force you to plan your spending more carefully and think before you make a purchase.
Think Over Your Purchases
Speaking of thinking over your purchases, if you get an impulse to buy something—especially something pricey—force yourself to think it over for at least 24 hours before making a decision. That new cell phone you have your heart set on today might not seem like such a necessity tomorrow.
Track Your Spending
Last but not least, make sure you’re tracking your spending carefully so you can check your progress. Consider installing mobile banking apps on your phone so you can see where you stand, even when you’re on-the-go. There are even some free helpful financial tracker apps, such as Mint, that’ll monitor your accounts and alert you if you’re getting too close to your spending limit.
As you can see, there are many ways in which you can work on controlling your spending. By implementing these simple yet effective tips, you can reduce your spending and instead focus on establishing savings and paying off debts.