When it comes to spending habits, I’m somewhat a blend of both of my parents. My mom is a spender, my dad is a saver. I tend to lean more towards the saver and sometimes I border on being cheap, but in the last little while I’ve been an all-out spender, my second mistake as our family’s financial manger. (HERE is my first mistake)
Ok, so we’re not purchasing big screen televisions or going out to ice cream every Saturday night (although, that wouldn’t be a bad idea 😉 ), but we’ve been spending more money than our budget allows. If I had kept up with our budget every month, I would know whether we could spend money on some tools (obviously for my husband, not me) or new mascara (even if I have perfectly good mascara in my makeup bag). Instead, I wasn’t really sure of our financial situation most months, so we’ve been spending money simply because we had money in our bank account and/or we knew we could put it on one of our credit cards. Big NO-NO.
In my mind, I really did need those hanging laundry bags and the pastry blender I bought from my sister’s Pampered Chef party. These are things that have made my life easier, after all. But all that frivolous spending has made it harder now that our income has taken a nose-dive.
I am really, really focused now on spending our money solely on our needs, because we just don’t have any extra money to spend over what we have budgeted each month. When money is this tight, you just have to be strict with yourself. In fact, I don’t even go to my parent’s house on a whim anymore. I used to drive to their house every week, especially when there was just Sofía, but I haven’t been to their house now for three or four months. There’s just not extra money in our budget for expensive gas.
I’ve also sworn off online shopping. It’s just way too tempting, and I know I would cave if I saw an adorable onesie for $3. I couldn’t stop right there (If you give a mouse a cookie…), because I would need to get free shipping, too, so I’d end up spending a little over $40 on clothes that would be adorable on my girls, but not clothes that they really needed. Have you seen all the clothes they have? It’s ridiculous.
© Jakub Krechowicz / Dollar Photo Club
It’s super hard spending money only on what you need. It sucks, really. Until my husband’s business starts to take off, we might be in a spending freeze for a while, so I’ve come up with 11 ways to make it easier:
- Be grateful for what you already have. Write it down if it helps.
- Give back. Think about other people’s needs and try to help them, so you aren’t thinking about your own situation.
- Freeze your credit cards in a large container of water so you won’t be able to use them as easily.
- Spend your time in places that don’t require any money to be spent, including the park, the library, a friend’s house, grandma’s house, or nature.
- Think of ways you can make extra money and spend your time doing those things.
- Turn off the TV and stop browsing the internet. You’ll inevitably come across ads that will possibly just make you want to spend some money.
- Write out your goals for the next 5 or 10 years and then write out short-term goals so you can meet those.
- Make a collage or an inspiration board using old magazines that shows your dreams and goals. This will help you see exactly what it is that you are striving for.
- Get off pinterest. Unfortunately, many of the things you see on pinterest will just make you want to spend your money.
- Use your energy to learn a new skill or enhance the ones you already possess. If you love baking cakes, for example, make some and sell them to friends or family for birthday parties.
- Journal about how difficult life is without money or journal about your new perspective on life because you are living within your means.
A blog post I ran across on pinterest recently, called Lessons Learned During the Summer of No Paycheck, has helped me put things in perspective. While spending less money has its major disadvantages, it can be a character builder.
Any great ideas to add to this list?
If you enjoyed this post, please sign-up to receive my weekly newsletter. You won’t regret it!
Or follow me on Pinterest! Charlee @Humble in a Heartbeat
Linked to: Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday, and Pin-It Party
Other posts in this series:
You Need a Bill Pay System
My Struggles as the Family Finance “Manager”
Mistake #1 – Quit budgeting
Mistake #2 – Mixed up wants and needs
Mistake #3 – Used credit cards for things we couldn’t afford
Mistake #4 – Overcomplicated our budget
Mistake #5 – Checked over our accounts less often
Mistake #6 – Saved $0
Mistake #7 – Spent bonuses
Mistake #8 – Bought low-quality appliances
My husband and I are both, thankfully, savers. It’s still hard to curb those wants sometimes. I love the idea of freezing (literally) the credit cards — too funny. We have one we use to get cash back (and pay off every month) but it’s still tempting to use it when we shouldn’t. Thanks for the reminders!
You got it made, Erin! How’d you get so lucky? Tehehe. I sometimes wish my husband was a saver, but I guess I can be grateful that he is actually really good at not spending money even if he wants to. I guess I’ve sort of turned him into one over the years! I’m glad you like the credit card idea 🙂
Chelsea @ The Contented Wife says
I love/hate spending freezes! We typically try to go on one during January/February. Those are the worst two months in my opinion and we tend to hibernate anyway, so why not try to go on a spending freeze then? I need to go through our August/September expenses…I kinda feel like we’ve just opened our wallets waaaaay too many times over the past couple of months, so I dread actually going through our account. Ugh. Good luck on your spending freeze! I know you can do it! Writing out 5-10 year goals is a GREAT idea!
You’re right, those two months seem like the perfect time to do a spending freeze, especially because of Christmas. Thank you, Chelsea, for believing in me 🙂 I really don’t like looking back over our receipts, either!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Charlee! These are fabulous tips.
I really should do a spending freeze. I think I have to plan for it though. Maybe one in January and another in June?
Pinning this… so awesome!
Wishing you a lovely day.
Thank you for pinning, Jennifer 🙂 If I could go back in time, I would plan a spending freeze in the months when my husband got 3 paychecks. That would have been so great for our savings! I hope you can try it out for yourself!
Lauren Tamm says
I just love online shopping, especially on Amazon…it’s just so fast, easy, and totally convenient. It is hard to control spending. In our home, we still definitely rely on the good ole fashioned allowance to prevent my husband and I from overspending on unnecessary things. Once our spending money is gone for the month. It’s gone.
YES! Amazon is so addicting. When we are no longer living paycheck to paycheck, I am going to try out allowances. It might just be a huge budget-saver! Thanks for your idea, Lauren!
There will never be enough money for all the things I want, yet I always have just enough for what I need. I find your #1 tip to be extremely helpful- gratitude goes a long way when you’re focused on what you don’t have. Once your husband’s business starts up, it will have been worth the penny pinching. It may take awhile but it will pay off! Abd that’s pretty exciting
I don’t know why, Rebecca, but your comments have been going straight to my spam folder for the past few weeks! Anyways, yes, I hope I can be more grateful for what I have in the future. It’s not really that I want things, per se, but it would be nice to be able to buy some new clothes for myself. I just never buy new clothes, but now that I don’t have money for new clothes, I want them more. Ha!
That’s how it is for me too! I hardly ever go shopping for new clothes…when I have the money to buy some, I cant find a thing. The other 90% of the time I see everything I want everywhere but cant buy it! Wah.
Hahaha! Poor us!!
This summer was brutal for our family. We own our own business and several big client accounts dried up and this left us hurting financially. We survived on barely nothing, but we survived! It’s still tough and so I really enjoy reading articles like this to give me some inspiration and ideas for dealing with the “crunch” times.
Yikes! I’m so glad you made it through the summer on a shoestring. I hope your business can be profitable again, Jen!
Ana Lynn says
Frank and I are not big spenders, we are happy with an occasional pizza or beer so we aren’t really tempted into a lot of things. Do we want super expensive things? Some, yeah, like he wants an Alienware and I would love to have a Macbook but we are doing fine even without them. My mother is a big spender and that can cause strife; especially when each year we work out our budget and divide the bills between the three of us, only to have her come to us and say we need to contribute more because she doesn’t have it. (Her paycheck is double ours by the way). Can I freeze her credit cards in the water? I could but she would probably go through the roof. And talking to her doesn’t help.
Haha. Ana, I’d love to hear what happens if you freeze her credit cards! You should really write a book about your mom and her antics. It’s really interesting!
These are such good tips! I’m writing down our goals! To get where we want to be will take some sacrifice, but thank you for giving a little perspective to the fact that just because we want something, doesn’t mean we need it!
Awesome, Brandi! I hope writing down your goals can take you closer to your dreams.
Femme Frugality says
2014 has been a spendy year for us, too, all things relative. These are all great ideas. I especially love the one about spending time in free places. Nature is my favorite place to be, and it doesn’t cost a cent, but I sometimes forget that living in the city.
Great idea! I am adding that to the post 🙂
Jayleen Zotti says
I love number two! It’s amazing how our needs and wants diminish in value when we are helping others! We save money by watching movies at home … it’s so much more comfortable at home too! We have also checked out tickets to local art and history museums from the library for a fun day out!
Jayleen, you are so right! I will have to look into our art and history museums and see what is free. What great ideas!
Rachel G says
My husband and I moved overseas a few months ago and the process of saving and planning for that move made us much more aware of how much we spent and how much less we can live on–we don’t actually NEED so many things that we previously considered needs, and actually, it’s very freeing to know that!
Charlee Anne says
I bet, Rachel! I want to do something big like that so I can just get rid of all the excess. What an exciting move!
Thanks for linking up my blog post. Good luck with your new low spending lifestyle! I can be really good for a while, and then I lose all control. Because it’s HARD! Nice to meet you…I really like your blog. 🙂
Charlee Anne says
I loved your post, Lara! I agree, we’re going to have to watch ourselves when we start making more money. Thank you so much for the sweet comment. It’s nice to meet you, too 🙂