Not many people understand how to properly budget their money. Because of this, they end up spending more than they should or they don’t spend at all. Practicing intentional spending will keep this from happening. Being more conscientious about how you spend will stop you from impulse shopping or feeling guilty every time you make a purchase. In this article, we highlight seven ways you can become more intentional with your money:
1. Create a Budget
The only way to become more intentional with your personal spending is to track it. Do you know how much money you spent on nonessentials this month? No? That’s a problem. Even if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, you should have a good understanding of your expenses.
Take some time to review your spending in the last few months. We recommend categorizing your expenses so you can see exactly how much went toward needs and wants. Once you have a better idea of your spending, create a budget that’ll keep you from overspending, if that’s your problem.
To make tracking even easier, consider linking your debit card to a banking app to see your transactions in real time. This will help you keep a closer eye on what goes in and out of your account each day. This way, you don’t overextend.
2. Pay Your Bills First
Creating a budget is one thing. Now you have to follow it. While your budget might allow a certain amount for nonessentials, you don’t want to start the month buying things you don’t truly need.
Instead, start by paying your bills first, paying down your debt, and allocating money towards your savings account. After all, those are the most important items on your financial to-do list. By paying your bills first, you avoid the risk of spending that money on something else. Once you have an idea of how much extra cash you have, you can set aside some fun money.
3. Monitor Social Media
Most of us have a complicated relationship with social media. While it’s fun to keep up with what friends (and celebrities) are doing, social media isn’t always healthy. One minute you’re scrolling through your feed, and the next you’re being influenced to buy a jacket you don’t even need. But hey, it’s 50% off.
Social media shows us a lot of things we don’t need but want because other people have them. Picture it. Your friend just posted photos of their tropical vacation on Instagram. Perhaps after looking at those pictures, you feel the urge to start planning your own vacation. It’s only natural to want what other people have. But unfortunately, that can have a negative impact on your wallet.
You can’t avoid social media completely, but it’s important to be aware of the influence it has on you. Then you can put guidelines in place for yourself. For instance, you could start limiting your social media use or stop following certain accounts.
4. Shop With a Purpose
Have you ever walked into the grocery store for one thing and ended up walking out with several items? Chances are, the answer is yes. We’ve all been there. And in truth, it’s not always a bad thing.
For instance, maybe you went into Target for paper towels and forgot you also needed toothpaste. That’s not a big deal. The problem is when you also walk out with five pairs of pants, new shoes, and some holiday decor. Now, instead of spending $5, you spent well over $100.
To keep that from happening, have a specific goal in mind when you go shopping. Make a shopping list, stick to it, and don’t deter from that goal. This might sound like a no-brainer, but chances are, you’ve veered off your shopping list before. Don’t do that. If that means bringing someone with you to hold you accountable or ordering online so you don’t browse, make those changes.
5. Get a Handle on Impulse Shopping
An impulse shopper is someone who makes the decision to buy a product or service right before they purchase. Sound familiar? If so, you might be spending money on items you don’t really need or items you could buy cheaper elsewhere.
To keep yourself from impulse shopping, wait at least 48 hours before actually purchasing. This gives you time to consider if you really need the item. You can also figure out if it’s being sold somewhere else at a discounted rate. While this might be difficult at first, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at waiting.
6. Review Your Subscriptions
According to research, about one-third of Americans are paying for subscriptions without knowing it. You’d be surprised at exactly how easy it is to inadvertently sign up for recurring payments. For example, some services advertise 14-day trials, and unless you remember to cancel after 14 days, you’re charged.
With this in mind, take some time to review your subscriptions. Make sure you know exactly what you’re being charged for. Then determine whether or not you actually need these subscriptions.
7. Say ‘No’
Let’s talk about your spending habits. Do you have a tendency to accept every dinner invitation from friends, even if your budget is low? Do you always say yes when your nail technician asks if you want an extra foot massage?
Not being able to turn offers down is probably one of the reasons you’re struggling financially. It’s important you learn to say “no” so you can stay on budget. That might mean missing a few dinners and other miscellaneous activities. But it’ll be worth it in the long run.
You don’t have to be a grinch to save money. Make a few small changes and be more aware of how you spend. Then you can be in the black without much effort. The tips above will help you become a more intentional spender so you can save money, while still enjoying your life.
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