4 Ways Anyone Can Be Disciplined and Smart About Spending

By on May 8, 2014

spendingIf you are a spender but would like to become more disciplined about your finances, there are several things you can do to get on track and ensure your wallet and your budget breathe a little easier.

Here are some options that have worked for me in the past and might work for you too:

1. Do Cash Only

If you know you have a spending problem and have a hard time controlling what goes out of your wallet, a cash only system is the only way to get disciplined.

Put away your credit cards. Better yet, cut them up! It might seem suffocating at first, especially if you are so used to swiping your card wherever you go. However, eventually a cash only system becomes a habit.

Once you get your spending under control and understand your spending tendencies, you can slowly add a credit card back and utilize it for points or airline miles. However, as soon as you feel yourself slipping back into your old ways, it’s time to do a cash only system again.

2. Create Goal Savings Accounts

One of the ways that I cut down on my spending is to have a lot of savings accounts. It might seem like common sense, but when I am actively saving for something, I spend less. I get the most accomplished when I have a specific set of goals in labeled savings accounts. So, I might have an emergency fund, vacation goal, and birthday fund going all at the same time. When I want to buy something on impulse, I just think of all those bigger goals sitting in my savings, and it makes it easier to pass on the smaller purchases.

3. Don’t Go to the Mall for Fun

One bad habit I used to have that I finally broke is going to the mall for fun. My husband and I used to go and take a stroll around the mall on the weekends when we had nothing else to do. Inevitably, we’d see something on sale or convince ourselves we needed something new. This always led to small purchases that added up and plunged us further into credit card debt. Now that we are finally out of that type of debt, I look back and wish I would have gone for a hike on a nature trail instead of through the department stores. I certainly would have gotten out of credit card debt sooner!

4. Clean Up Your E-mail

Raise your hand if you have a ton of promotional e-mails in your inbox. I know I do, because I always sign up for things to get 10% off etc. at various stores. Luckily, g-mail’s new feature of sorting e-mails helps to cut down on the amount of e-mails I am exposed to, but if you are a shopaholic, it can be really hard to break the habit of buying things from the stores that advertise to your inbox. Clean it up, and you’ll be amazed at how little money you spend!What are some other ways anyone can be disciplined and smart about their spending habits?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com. Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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