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You’d think having no money would keep a person from frivolous spending, but I’m living proof that logic doesn’t work that way. Today, I’m sharing five super-simple tips I’ve used, and you can also learn how to stop spending money that you don’t have and ultimately stop going into debt.
When I graduated from college, I was jokingly broke and my friends wanted to go on a cruise to celebrate. So I said, “I have no money, guys, sorry.”
I’m just having fun!
I took out an American Express credit card!
It was only years later that I realized how important and possible it is to have no debt and I would start working towards it. As a result, my husband and I paid $ 78,000 in debt in less than two years, which was well below the six-figure figure between us.
Stop spending money that you don’t have
If you’re struggling to meet your budget, living from paycheck to paycheck, and trying to get out of the loop that keeps you in debt, these five tips can help.
Create a budget
Write down what you come in for the month, what you go out and what you have left. If you live from paycheck to paycheck, you may think you have nothing left, but I promise that I am 99% sure that you will.
If you’re struggling to meet your budget, watch my video that shows you how to stop spending money on unnecessary things. It gives you some tips on how to solve your big budget problems. And if you want more videos about keeping to a budget and controlling your expenses Subscribe to Modern Frugality on YouTube and like this video so I know what topics to cover and you will be when they are outside.
Use cash or gift cards
You are probably familiar with the cash handling system that you can use to ensure that you only spend what you have.
If you don’t like to carry cash with you, I like to use gift cards. Gift cards are great because they only work in one place, so you can’t pull out of the gas envelope to spend more in grocery, etc. They are also generally safer and more hygienic.
You can buy discounted gift cards at Raise.com that not only help you limit your spending and ensure that you spend your money where you announced it, but can also spend a little more. If you use my referral code in the description, you will get $ 5 to spend on the raise.
Shop with a list
When shopping, always make a list and set the rule that if it is not on the list, it cannot be bought. You can put anything you want on the list, but it has to stay there until it can be included in your next monthly budget. Again, the budget is not restrictive, it just shows you what you can do. Unfortunately, we are not as rich as we want, but that is not the fault of the budget.
One trick to combat off-list / off-budget spending is: Download the Icebox extension.
Icebox is a free Chrome extension that replaces the buy button with a “Put it on Ice” button or appears as a popup in over 400 stores. Once you’ve put something on hold, you won’t be able to buy it until the defrost time is up. You set this period. I recommend 30 days. You have time to set the budget for the next month, and hopefully a little extra to make sure you really want it.
You can exclude certain transactions. If you have an emergency where you need to buy something, there are a few additional steps you can take to buy it. However, this leads to you being more deliberate in this case.
Be on purpose with your time
Think carefully about why you continue to spend money. For me I can say it was out of sheer boredom, lack of other things, for me shopping was a hobby.
If you’re similar, the solution is to intentionally schedule your time for purposes other than spending money and have a list of free activities ready when you’re tempted to spend your time shopping.
My favorite way to save money is to spend time doing it. I recently shared some of my favorite things that are recession, quarantine, and pandemic evidence in case we encounter another one. Seriously, though there are so many flexible side appearances, there is no excuse not to make one if you try to shop less.
To avoid debt, you need to have an emergency fund that you can access in case of an emergency. If your expenses are less than your income, put the extra in a high-yield savings account separately from your regular check.
Your emergency fund should not be right next to your checking account. Keep it separate. I will add a link to my current favorite in the description.
After saving an emergency fund, start saving for things you need instead of writing them on a credit card. These are known as falling funds. I keep my falling balance in the savings account that goes with my review. However, if you are having trouble spending everything on your account, put it in your emergency fund where you can easily spend it.
And that’s really all you have to do to stop spending money that you don’t have. Sure, I could probably find 5 more tips, but if you can get through these, these are the cakes, everything else is just icing on the cake.
Jen Smith is a personal finance professional, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends podcast. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, US News and World Report, Business Insider and others. She is passionate about helping people gain control over their expenses.
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