One of the biggest challenges with the advances in technology from a finance perspective is that money no longer seems tangible. The days of opening your wallet, finding no cash, and simply not buying something are over. Now, we can easily spend more money than we have with the swipe of a card or the click of a button.
In these spend-crazy times, how can one handle their money responsibly? Becoming more money conscious is one way to prevent overspending and work your way out of years of debt. Here’s how to hone this skill:
Borrow Only When You Must
There’s nothing wrong with needing financial help to pay your bills during a tough time or if an emergency occurs. For example, you may be conservative with your spending and stick to a budget that allows you to pay your bills and have a little fun. However, when faced with the death of a loved one who lives on the other side of the country, the need to attend their funeral — no matter the cost — may override that careful planning.
There are endless scenarios in which you might be required to visit a lending site. Of course, these scenarios do not include falling in love with a jacket when you already have seven at home or going out for dinner despite your budget because you don’t feel like cooking. Borrow money only when an emergency arises, and it will become a habit not to overspend.
Create a Fun Savings Account
We all know the importance of saving for the future, but what about setting aside money for fun, toward a larger, luxury item or event? This could be anything like an annual trip away, or a spa day every three months. The idea behind this is creating a reward for staying on track, like a cheat meal while dieting. It allows you to feel more motivated to practice good spending habits without feeling too restricted.
Look at the Hard Facts
Sometimes all it takes is an hour with a calculator to put things in perspective. If you have goals of paying off your debt, look at how long that will take with your current spending habits. If you haven’t created a budget, do so and compare what you’ve been spending against what you should be spending. It’s all too easy to hide your head in the sand when it comes to money. Looking at some hard facts may help you realize that your dream of home ownership or paying off your student loans is decades down the road based on your current lifestyle.
Decrease Your Limit
Decreasing your credit card limit, or refusing to increase it when an offer comes along, will cause you to think before swiping your card on an item you don’t need. It puts a more recognizable limit on your spending. You will be aware of the fact that if you use that money for a want, you won’t have it available if a need arises. It’s also helpful to have your limit steadily decreased as you pay off your credit card debt. Don’t hesitate to cut your cards if using them gets too tempting.
Volunteering and seeing how little some people live on can be an eye-opening experience. There are many people with no income and no homes, yet they manage to keep moving forward. Not only will it help your overall personal growth to help other humans in need, but it can seriously make you rethink how much stuff you think you need and how much you’re spending on frivolity.
Whenever possible, use cash to make your purchases and be cognizant of a finite limit to your funds. Practice these ways to become more money conscious and you’ll be out of the red in no time.
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