Got yourself feeling a little light in the wallet lately? We can help.
Habits are hard to break
Lots of people find themselves shopping more than needed to survive. This day and age shopping is becoming increasingly important to the way our society thrives, but at the expense of those who cannot manage their finances.
Online shopping has created a whole new world where people don’t even have to leave their homes anymore. Almost all of your shopping needs can be attended to via the interweb and your products arrive at your door within days.
Advertising has exploded and evolves to be more effective by the minute. These traps are everywhere these days waiting for unsuspecting victims to take cash from. This kind of convenience coupled with the overload of advertising makes it extremely easy to push the limits and spend a lot more money than we need to be spending.
Financial institutions everywhere rejoice as debt of all kinds piles up and the interest payments come pouring in. The rich get richer from the interest payments off debt that has paid for products that the rich provide. It’s a big win for them, and a lose for those that get caught up in this scenario.
For people that need to have a realization that their spending is getting out of control it usually doesn’t occur until it is far too late.
As in far too late I mean far too late to prevent it. That doesn’t mean it is far too late to do something about it. We can make changes to our actions in order to combat bad spending habits. If this is something that you are considering doing, you will want to employ what we will call a “shopping ban”.
The Shopping Ban
The name is pretty much sums up what the idea is. We need to curb unnecessary spending in order to get back to a stable financial health.
The level of spending ban is determined by what our situation is, and what our goals are.
Maybe we have a small amount on the credit card we are trying to eliminate so we will cut eating out for a bit until the credit card is paid off. Or maybe we are completely overwhelmed with maxed out credit cards plus a line of credit, and more drastic measures need to be taken.
Some financial institutions make it super easy to start whittling away unneeded spending. Check to see if your bank offers an online spending tracker. If they don’t there are also many apps that can help you track spending.
The goal is to identify where we are spending money and how much money. If you want to just do it the old fashioned way, pull up your bank statements for the last 6 months to a year. Go through them and highlight items that you bought or are paying for that you don’t really need to live.
Make The Commitment
Once you have identified all of the things that have slowly (or quickly) deteriorated your financial health you can focus on eliminating these items.
This is the hardest part of a spending ban.
It is just as hard as quitting smoking, or going to the gym consistently, or any other thing that requires a significant amount of discipline. Some may find it easier than others. If you do find it difficult just know that it gets easier over time.
Maintain your commitment to your spending ban, and you wont regret it.
Process Of Elimination
You can action these eliminations slowly or all at once, the choice is yours. Just keep your goals in mind and think about when you want to reach them.
Start cancelling subscriptions, reduce the amount of outings, do yourself a favor and never set foot in a mall again, unsubscribe to all of the online shopping email lists and remove the sites from your bookmarks.
Start with the big fish and work your way down. Biggest costs go first and this should help you see benefits quickly. If you have certain expenditures that you can’t see yourself living without, try to substitute a solution for them.
For example if you like to hang out with your friends on the town a lot, try to suggest doing things that are free but still fun. If you struggle with this, Google it. There is tons of material on free fun stuff. This is going to take some work on your part but it’ll be well worth it.
Or maybe you are one of the café latte types. Start making your coffee at home. Not only do you get really good at it, it will literally save you a fortune.
If fashion is your vice, sell most of your clothes at a boutique consignment and for every item you buy afterwards, another one must leave. A one for one trade off that will keep your wardrobe under control. Buy at thrift stores instead of designer stores, there is no shame in that. You might feel more shame trying to explain to someone how you have no money, and also no real world assets either.
Over time, and possibly sooner rather than later you will begin to feel the “weight lifted off of your shoulders” experience. You will be more at ease being less and less stressed about your finances as you begin to gain back some ground.
Surprisingly soon you will reflect and be confused as to what you could have possibly been thinking when you were burning all of your money shopping. Sometimes it is just a big learning curve for some people as they enter the real world. Not uncommon at all, and nothing to feel bad about.
In fact it helps greatly to be open about your situation no matter how bad it is. Tell you family and your friends you’ll be happy to know that they will support your spending ban and care about your well being, (any that do not support your spending ban, you may want to loose their number…).
Soon enough you will triumph over your situation and be able to build you way back up to a good stable financial health. Looking out for your financial health can help you maintain your mental health and be more productive in your work and relationships.
Don’t give up!