Three Spending Strategies to Ensure You Never Overspend Again
Are you struggling with overspending? If you are struggling with overspending, you are not alone! This is the most common challenge I see for those who are getting started building personal wealth.
If you want to create wealth and financial independence for yourself, the number one thing you can do is to know how much money you have coming in and going out on a regular basis, and put the difference to its highest and best use.
What is the highest and best use of your dollars? That is always going to be to build your pillars of wealth, which are debt elimination, savings, and investments. But what if you are spending more that you plan to spend?
Are you blowing your budget?
If, every month you find that you are blowing your budgets, leaking money, or just don’t seem to have enough money to pay bills or save, I have a solution. I am going to share with you three strategies you can choose from to ensure that you never overspend again.
Begin with the goal in mind.
In personal finance, we always work backwards. That means we start with the goal in mind. By working backwards, you can easily identify how much money you have to spend, and use a spending strategy reach your monthly financial goal.
Let’s get started.
Create short term goals.
Creating short term goals is the best way to reach the financial finish line. So just focus on the next 30 days.
1. First, create a monthly financial goal.
If you plan nothing, you go nowhere. The highest and best use of your dollars is always going to be to pay yourself. That means putting the money you earn toward debt elimination, savings, and investments.
Determine the amount that you want to apply to your financial goal in the next thirty days. Maybe it’s $100. Maybe it’s $1000. Whatever it is, write that down.
2. Next, calculate your earnings.
How much money are you expecting to earn in the next thirty days? Go ahead and write down how much money you will bring into your bank account over the next month.
3. Finally, calculate expenses.
There are two types of expenses: bills and spending. Bills are expense that are pretty much the same each month, like rent or mortgage, car payment, minimum payments on loans, a gym membership, prescriptions you take regularly, insurance premiums, and anything that you pay the for on a regular basis. As a general rule, It’s a good idea to know how much you can expect to leave your bank account to pay bills every single month.
Put bills on auto-pay.
If you want a bonus move here, set up all of your bills to be paid automatically from your personal checking account every single month. This ensures your bills always get paid on time, and eliminates the time it takes to pay bills freeing up your precious energy to focus on the things you want.
Calculate your spending
Whatever is left over when you subtract your financial goal and bills from your income can all go toward spending, the second kind of expense. Spending expenses are things that you swipe a credit or debit card for, pay for with cash, or use payment services like Paypal or Venmo. Common spending expenses are gas, groceries, personal, entertainment, food, pet costs, medical bills such as copays and unexpected prescriptions, car expenses such as repair and maintenance, and more.
Decide how much you are going to spend.
Decide how much money you want to spend in the next 30 days. You can call this amount your allowance, your spending, or whatever you want. Just make sure that you take the time every 30 days to determine an exact amount of money that you are going to use for spending.
Most people spend all the money they make. That’s why most people aren’t wealthy! You have a lot more control over spending than you might think.
We live in a world driven by consumerism. It’s easy to spend money mindlessly on things we don’t necessarily need. But when you take the time to create a financial goal for yourself, for example, to save for a down payment on a house, pay off student loans, start a business, go on vacation, or stop working one day, you can stop needless spending and build your pillars of wealth.
If you find that you are spending more than you budget for, carrying a balance on a credit card, or watching your debt increase instead of decrease, using a spending strategy will turn things around right away.
The three spending strategies are
- Spending account
Stop using credit cards
For each strategy you will need to stop using credit cards. You cannot spend money that you don’t have, and this is the magic in using a spending strategy. All three methods ensure that you will never spend more than you have set aside for spending.
While credit cards have advantages such as rewards, they make it too easy to spend money that you don’t have. Charging expenses on credit cards is only a good idea if you pay the balance in full each month. Once you get your spending under control, you can begin to use credit cards again.
If you want to forecast how much money you can put toward debt elimination, savings, and investments, and never fail in doing so, then stop using credit cards and begin using a spending strategy!
Do whatever it takes to stop using them. I had to put mine in a bowl of water and freeze them in order to stop using them. It’s important to note that you do not want to close your credit cards. This lowers your credit score. Instead, put them in a safe place until you are ready to start using them again.
The cash-only strategy
The cash-only spending strategy is great for two reasons. First, it creates a conscious connection to the value of your dollars because there is pain associated with giving physical dollars away. Secondly, when your cash is gone, it’s gone. If you are committed to your goals and yourself, you will not withdraw more money than you’ve allowed yourself.
The way to use the cash only spending method is to cancel all your subscriptions and anything that you pay for with a credit card, debit card, or payment service. Bills can still be paid from your personal checking account, but all spending should be done with cash.
Determine your weekly or monthly spending allowance, and visit the bank or ATM at the start of the period to withdraw that amount. Maybe you are basing how much you can spend on when you get paid. However you decide to do it is just fine. What matters is that you are looking at your money in and money out on a regular basis and determining an amount in advance, that you will allow yourself to spend during that period, so that you can use your remaining dollars to build your pillars of wealth.
When you pay for everything with cash, you can easily see how much you are spending, how fast you are spending it, and how much you have left to spend. This is tremendously powerful in creating awareness around where your dollars are going.
I used the cash-only method for six months and not only did it help me spend less money on things I didn’t need, but it also helped me realize that I was spending more on things than necessary. I began to look for better deals and was able to save even more money.
The debit-only spending strategy is similar to the cash-only method but with the conveniences of electronic payment. Before starting to use this method, ask your bank to decline charges to your debit card when there are insufficient funds. This ensures that you will not dip into a savings account or charge expenses to a credit card when the money in your account is gone. Just like with the cash-only method, you will need to keep an eye on the dollars that you have left to ensure they will last until your next re-supply.
This method eliminates the inconveniences of using cash while maintaining a cap for what you can spend, as you also cannot spend more than you have in your account. The drawback of using the debit-only method is that the money in your personal checking account is also allocated to bills, debt-elimination, savings, and investments. If you spend all your money, you will not have anything left over to pay bills and build your pillars. That’s why I love the next spending strategy most of all.
Spending Account Strategy
A spending account is an online bank account where you can transfer the money you have allocated to spending for the time period you have chosen. A spending account gives you the ability to set aside the money you have earmarked for spending in its own account, keeping it totally separate from your other money, which is allocated to bills and building your pillars. You can even automate transfers to your spending account for each time you get paid, or at the start of the time period you have chosen to spend your predetermined amount.
With a spending account, you will get a debit card that you can connect your subscriptions, as well as PayPal, Venmo, and more, making electronic payments easy and convenient.
My top two favorite spending accounts are Chime and Aspiration Bank. Both will send you a beautiful debit card in the mail, which you can immediately begin using for all your spending. It’s easy to track your spending with their app and online, as well as monitor your daily balances to achieve your spending goals.
What I love about Chime is they give you an immediate bonus when you set up direct deposit.
Aspiration Bank also provides a bonus when you open an account and meet their current spend threshhold, plus they do good things for the planet and offer rewards for everyday spending.
No Matter What, Create a Plan for Spending
What’s the best method for you and your lifestyle? That’s for you to decide. You may have to try all the methods for a period of time to see which one works the best for you. Regardless of which method you choose, understanding why, where, and how you spend can go a long way to helping you redirect your dollars to their highest and best use.
Go easy on yourself
Remember to go easy on yourself as you begin this process. There’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to money, only doing your best. Personal finance is not black and white, and every month is different. Just keep your eye on the ball (that’s your financial goal) and aim to spend only what you plan to spend by using a spending strategy.
Good luck and stay focused.
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