7 Ways To Get Your Finances In Shape

The way we spend money and what we spend money on determines the health of our finances. While you may not be a frivolous or big spender, what you decide to spend your money on directly influences your success in saving and budgeting.

If you find you’re having trouble meeting your goals month after month, or are continually breaking your budget, it could be time to look at the way you spend. Here are 7 ways you can improve your spending habits and get back on track with your budget.

1. Assess what you spend on.

Look at your bank statements for the past month. Where has your money been going? Write down categories you see yourself spending in, such as dining out and gas purchases. You may be surprised at finding a higher dollar amount being spent than you previously thought. Assessing your spending will give you an excellent place to start making changes or cutbacks.

2. Don’t impulse buy.

Impulsive buys are often bad decisions. Just because it’s on sale or something you want doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Rule of thumb, if you didn’t walk into the store for that item, don’t buy it.

3. Plan your purchases.

If you need or want something, it pays to shop around first. Never buy the first deal you come across, always comparison shop. Patience and discipline can play a significant role in developing this habit. If you don’t need what your shopping for urgently, taking that extra bit of time to make your decision is usually worth it.

4. Don’t shop according to mood.

You may have heard the adage “Don’t shop while hungry.” There’s truth to it! If you haven’t eaten in a while and you decide to take care of your grocery shopping, your purchases will often be led by your hunger instead of rationality. Our moods directly influence spending habits in other areas as well. The next time you make a purchase that you don't feel so great about after, pay attention to what mood you were in beforehand. It may help you consciously avoid this type of purchase next time.

5. Look at what motivates your purchases.

Often, purchases can be motivated by the wrong things, leading to bad decisions being made. Moods, as mentioned before, are one thing that can negatively drive your spending. However, there are also other factors that may repeat themselves in our buying habits. For instance, maybe you’re purchasing lunch every day while on your break because it’s the most convenient thing for you to do. You can easily change this into an opportunity to save money, however, if you prepped your lunch the night before at home and brought it with you.

6. Budget for fun activities.

Improving your spending and staying on track with your budget doesn’t mean eliminating everything you enjoy. In fact, budgeting for things you enjoy may help you save money. When you don’t allow yourself room in your spending on fun things and activities, this paves the way for impulse buys that you may feel guilty about later. If you instead allow yourself some cash to play with, this gives you permission to have fun AND stay on budget.

7. Stop signing up for monthly subscription services.

Monthly subscription services can be enticing because they are convenient for services or goods you want at the time, and often they will offer discounts with your promise to buy them regularly. The fact of the matter is that often you subscribe and forget, or hardly use – but the charges keep getting taken out of your bank account. Scrap the monthly subscriptions unless it’s something you have a track record of actually using enough to warrant the signup.

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