Managing your finances is hard when you cannot resist a spur-of-the-moment purchase. Impulse buys can make your monthly budget go right out the window. Before you know it, debt is knocking on your door. Although taming your urge to spend carelessly may seem impossible, there are a few simple tricks that can help you stay out of trouble.
Most financial experts suggest that you keep a detailed account of everything you spend. However, there is a huge downside in this plan: the money has already been spent. The real challenge is to manage your money beforehand. Before leaving your house, whether you go grocery-shopping or for a night out with friends, make a rough estimate of the amount of money you need to take with you. Leave the rest, along with credit or debit cards, in a safe place at home. This way you will only spend what is absolutely necessary.
ATMs and credit cards are wonderful inventions that make money accessible anytime, anywhere. Helping you manage your finances, though, is not among their strong traits. This round-the-clock accessibility makes it easier for you to get carried away and spend more than you intended. If you want to stay on top of your expenses, make cash your new best friend. By performing cash-only transactions you can keep better track of the money you spend because their effect is immediate: your pockets are emptying up.
The value of small change is often underestimated. In fact, people seem more cautious about spending banknotes, especially when it comes to large bills. You can take advantage of this psychological trick to change your spending habits. Use a large jar or piggy-bank to save all of your coins at the end of each day. Carrying banknotes will force you to think twice before making seemingly unimportant purchases. Moreover, when your jar is full, you can reward yourself for a job well done.
Many people use shopping as a means of relieving stress and negative feelings. If you fall into this category, avoid the mall or shopping district when you are in a bad mood. Instead, you can go for a walk in the park or at the seaside, have a chat with friends, or take a bubble-bath and listen to relaxing music. These alternatives are surefire ways to calm you down at zero cost. If all else fails, give in to temptation but make sure that you don't go overboard.
Managing your money is not a matter of complex calculations and iron discipline. Small but effective changes in your spending habits can help you avoid needless expenses and maintain a healthy financial life.