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This is easier said than done, right? A lot of us tend to spend money that we don’t actually have in the bank by using credit cards, or taking out loans. Borrowing money or using credit cards just digs a deeper hole and puts us in more debt because that money has to be paid back. If you already don’t have the money, how do you think you’ll be able to easily pay back debt that you create by borrowing or using your credit cards? Over the years I’ve almost completely turned my back on credit cards. I think they are the fastest way for anyone to spend money that they don’t have, and then turn around and focus on making payments on the minimal amount due and the next thing you know the card is maxed out. Not to mention, there will be interest that builds on the card. If you use a credit card, the best way to handle those is to pay off whatever you charged to it within 30 days, or before you roll into the next billing cycle. This way, you build your credit and pay the card off before interest takes its toll. I only use my credit cards on an emergency basis, and then I make sure to cover the charge with the next paycheck.

I’d like to share with you 5 ways to stop spending money you don’t have, and let you in on the best way to handle money when you don’t really have it to spend, or have very little.

#1: Start by writing down your goals. Create a vision of what you expect for yourself over the next month. Writing down your goals will help to hold you accountable when you don’t follow through, and when you do, it’ll make you proud. This can be helpful too if you write down where you are now, and then write down where you’d like to be. Seeing your vision makes reaching your goal easier.

#2: Create A Weekly Budget. Creating a budget for the week will help you stay on track with what you can spend. DO NOT deviate from the budget. You have to be disciplined enough to not go any deeper when you have reached the limit of your budget. Work on budgeting each ‘category’ that you spend money on throughout the week individually. Those amounts together will total your actual weekly budget. What I mean by this is, your groceries should be budgeted as one thing, and then create a separate budget for gas and so on. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the Budgeting to Get Out of Debt Series! Part 2 actually includes a worksheet that you can use as a guide in creating your budget, or you can simply print and use the form!

#3: Always go shopping with a list! The key to this is, you have to stick to what’s on the list and don’t get sidetracked by everything else that is in the store! Simply write down what you need, and when you go in the store purchase only that! Nothing more, and if anything, something less! When we tend to purchase more than we’ve walked in the store for, we almost always go over our budget. Don’t let this happen to you. As hard as it may be, stick to the list!

#4: Shop with cash. Shopping with cash is very important! You may wonder why and the reason is because when you shop with cash, you are watching the money disappear before your very eyes every time you spend. Some people like to use their debit or credit cards and the problem with spending this way is you don’t visually see the decrease in the funds. It’s almost as if the bank account is “out of sight and out of mind.” We need to see the funds disappear in order to be reminded that we have to stay on track!

#5: Shop with purpose! I know this can be a hard one, but try not to shop for fun. Shop when you need something whether it will be clothes, shoes, make-up, etc. When you need it buy it, but don’t buy it just because you like it and at a time you don’t really need it. Make sense? When you shop with purpose, you’ll be able to see your bank account stay solid and I’m sure you’ll love watching it grow.

Budgeting can be tricky or feel like too much work, but it will only benefit you in the end. A couple of other ways to get out and have fun without overspending is to find free fun. If you need help looking for ways to spend money in a more frugal way, check out The Benefits of Frugal Spending for ideas! There are a ton of ideas in there that will help you spend less money! If you happen to find yourself overspending even with your budget, look back over the last month and assess where you may need to adjust your budget and/or cut back. If it’s not realistic to cut back in that particular area, re-adjust and see where else you could potentially spend a little less.

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  1. Shopping with cash is a great tip. Using a card is such an easy way to go overboard because you aren’t seeing the money disappear in your hands. Great post.

    1. You’re absolutely right! Thank you!

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