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Five Tips for Financial Health Tip 1: No More Wasteful Spending

January 09, 2017
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While some of us can admit when our spending is wasteful, oftentimes we overlook some of the largest offenders to our budget. Whether our oversight is due to time (an old subscription, for instance) or otherwise, it’s time to pull all your bills together and take a look at what might be costing you more than you realize.

Here are 3 steps to cutting wasteful spending:

Examine Your Credit Card Spending

This is an eye-opening experience for almost everyone that chooses to take on the task! Back when cash was more widely used, it was more difficult to spend money because we could literally see it leaving our wallets. But today is different. It’s so easy to swipe a credit card or click “buy” on Amazon! Examining spending is the first step to cutting wasteful purchases because we always need to see where we are before we can get to where we want to be.

There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is the most time-efficient, which is to download an app, like Prosper Daily or Penny, that syncs with your accounts, categorizes your purchases, and provides you with reports. The second is to manually print your last few statements and categorize your spending yourself, averaging out your purchases on each category per month. Whichever way you choose to do this, you may be surprised! For instance, if you know what you spend on groceries each month, but fail to add in what you spend on going out to eat, your food bill might be twice as high as what you realize. My husband was going out for lunch 3 days a week, spending about $8 each time, so about $25/week. While that seems inconsequential short-term, that’s more than $1,000 per year on lunches for one person less than half the days of the week!

Take some time to find the areas where you’re surprised at your credit card spending, and put a plan in place to bring that cost down.

Shop Around

Whatever you’re buying, be it groceries, clothes, or gifts, make sure you shop around! Most major grocery stores send weekly ads via mail to disclose their specials for the week, and all major retailers have emails you can opt into for coupons and sale notifications. Be sure you do your homework and shop at the places that offer the best deals at that point in time. 

Make Consolations

This is one of the hardest things to ask of ourselves, and it’s often the thing that can save us the most money. Instead of buying jeans at Nordstrom, get yours at Old Navy. Instead of buying brand new baby clothes, hit up the garage sales in your area. Don’t get all the movie channels in your cable package, or cut cable completely and just subscribe to Hulu or Netflix. These sacrifices can seem painful in the moment, but can lead to long-term savings you’ll be grateful for!

If you have any questions, be sure to give me a call.