Who doesn’t love a good deal? Finding ways to save money on items you need is one thing, but its super easy to end up spending more because it seems like you’re spending less.
Even when we didn’t take our finances too seriously, it never felt like we lived extravagantly. Instead, we found ourselves spending our money on little things we probably didn’t even really need. I say that because I can’t even remember what we bought or how we spent our money. It definitely wasn’t on extravagant big ticket items. No, our money got eaten up by small purchases – a movie we found on sale while shopping for groceries – an extra meal (or two!) out at a restaurant – or immediate purchases on items we found on sale or “for a good deal.”
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a meal out or taking advantage of a good deal – but only if you can afford it or if it actually helps keep more money in your pocket.
We put a stop to our extra spending by implementing the following:
Shopping at an actual grocery store. One of the first changes we made was to shop at an actual grocery store – not an everything store. This dramatically reduced our weekly grocery bill because we weren’t adding things we didn’t really need to our cart. Most of those items were cheap items we didn’t need anyways and by not having to pass them in the aisles, we were able to drastically reduce our weekly spending with this small change.
Create a plan for each dollar you have. If you don’t have a plan for every dollar in your budget, chances are you’ll spend more. By giving your money a purpose, its much more challenging to use it for other things – you know it has an important role to play in the goals you’ve set.
Buy less, do more. Its tempting to think that you need more stuff to enjoy life more. We’ve found the opposite to be the case. Instead, we find that there are plenty of activities our family can do together that either cost very little or nothing at all. From dance parties to walks, we enjoy spending time together more than just getting stuff.
Delay gratification. We live in a world where its easy to spend money and there are so many tempting ways to use it. From items we know we’d love to have to experiences we know we’d enjoy, its never hard to give your money away. But sometimes we may find that something shiny and new is just that – shiny and new. And when we slow down to determine whether its really worth the investment, the answer might not always be yes. Give yourself a set amount of time to wait before you spend your money. If you still want the item or feel it would be a worthy investment of your dollar, go for it.
Ask yourself this simple question. Will this add value to my life? This question can help you determine whether the purchase is an investment in your life or simply a “whim” purchase. Both purchases are completely fine and we all make them; however, if you are looking to reduce your spending, pay off debt, or live within your means, it may be a question worth asking to ensure that what you spend impacts your life in a positive way.
What strategies have you implemented to spend less and live more? We’d love to hear all about it!