Keeping your spending under control is critical to having success with your personal finances.
Here are five tips to help you keep your spending under control:
Tip # 1. Know how much you earn on a monthly basis. I know this sounds basic, but many of us don’t know exactly how much ends up in our bank account after tax. If you know how much you have, it is the first step to making sure you don’t spend more than you have. This is particularly important if you don’t have a steady salary. If you work on commission, are self employed or work on contract, you need to keep a close eye on your income.
Tip #2. Have a monthly spending plan. Basically, have an allocation of how much you plan to spend on each category (housing, food, entertainment etc.) in a given month. You don’t have to be super strict with micro categories, but just have a plan and stick to it!
Tip #3. Check your bank account and credit card balance a few times a month. You want to be sure that you are familiar with the transactions that happen throughout the month. This will make you more familiar with your cash-flow – when and where your money comes and goes. It will also enable you to catch errors.
Tip #4. If there are categories of spending you feel that you might have less self-control, like spending on coffee, or entertainment, carry a small envelope with cash specifically allocated for this category. Once the funds are spent, you’ll know it’s time to stop. That’s the great thing about spending with cash, once it’s gone, it’s gone!
Tip #5. Be realistic and realize that you aren’t going to spend the same amount every month and plan for it. If you know you have special occasions like birthdays and weddings coming up, ensure that you allocate enough money to cover those expenses. If you plan for the extra expenses, you will be less likely to fall off the financial track entirely.
While you may be able to outsource your investing decisions, you are the one who is in charge of your spending. There is no time like the present to get your spending under control.