There are good habits to get into and bad ones, and if you are spending beyond your means and always having problems paying your bills, it might be time to work on a strategy to change your behavior for the better. Here’s a discussion of some of the issues surrounding bad spending habits and some solutions to help fix the problem and move forward.
Change the Way You Think About Spending
If you’re really determined to change your spending habits, the first step is to change your mindset and this may be easier than you think. Whether you’re dropping $5 each lunch break for a gourmet coffee or going to the bar for a couple of pints after work, these are unnecessary habits you can change to save you money each week. Instead, drink free coffee at the office, skip the bar a few nights then treat yourself at the end of the week.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. If you tighten the reins too quickly, you may just end up splurging the money you’ve saved. If you have money problems, try to curb your spending in a realistic way. If you try to deprive yourself too much, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Experiment With Your Spending
Give yourself a little test and try it out for one week or even just a few days. If you’re successful, this may give you more incentive to change your spending habits. Keep a track of your spending, don’t just keep swiping your debit card or charging things to credit. Be vigilant and aware of exactly how much you are spending. Keep a record of everything you spend, even if it’s only drinks from the vending machine. This is a good habit to get into and will soon become second nature.
Open a targeted savings account and have some money automatically transferred from your checking account each paycheck. Even if you’re only saving $10-$20 each month it will help. Once you see your savings growing, however slowly, it will encourage you to save even more.
Consider a Debt Settlement Program
If you feel you’re drowning in debt, it might be a good idea to think about signing up for a debt settlement program like those offered by DebtSettlement.co. They may be able to help you consolidate your debts or even negotiate with your debtors to accept a reduced lump sum rather than monthly payments.
Try not to overthink making spending changes, just do it. If you’re really determined to get out of financial dire straits you can make it happen. If you start feeling tempted to spend when you know you shouldn’t talk to your partner or a friend or family member who can help to talk you out of it. If you do have bad days, don’t beat yourself up about it, just get back into the good groove again and carry on.
James Hendrickson is an internet entrepreneur, blogging junky, hunter and personal finance geek. When he’s not lurking in coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, you’ll find him in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors. James has a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelors degree on Sociology from Earlham College. He loves individual stocks, bonds and precious metals.