The last two months, my spending has gotten out of control. I was never exactly frugal, but it also wasn’t like I was going into debt. I had a nice little nest egg so I had some security, but I never really thought too much about my money either. If I wanted to get dinner out, I would. If I had $200 worth of stuff that I “needed” at Target, I would buy it. You get the idea.
But the last two months have been absolutely ridiculous. With Reg gone, I no longer have much motivation to cook myself meals alone at home, which means a lot more takeout. I’ve been splurging way too much on clothes and jewelry. I’ve also been “buying” some practical stuff like my first trip to the dentist in over a year and a trip or two to the vet, but it’s still be very, very rough on my wallet.
It’s gotta stop. I’ve gotta start looking more critically at my purchases, both big and small. I’ve got to start telling myself “no” more often. Here’s how I’m going to start:
1. Pay off my credit cards now and stop using them
I started using credit cards because I liked building my credit and that I got 5% back on certain things. The problem is I use them without thinking and don’t have a clear idea about how much money I actually have in my bank account. Yesterday I paid them completely off, even though it seriously depleted my savings. And now I’m going to put them away – from now on, I’ll be using my debit card or cash ONLY, so I can only use what’s actually in my main account.
2. Cancel my subscription services
There are so many expenses that I have that automatically bill my account every month. Without me even swiping my card, I spend well over $100. So I’m canceling my BarkBox, my Stitch Fix (for now), my Scribd, and my Netflix. I’ll get on my mom’s Netflix account, who has generously offered to share hers with me. The only ones I’ll be keeping are Audible, because I seriously feel the $20 a month is worth it, and Hulu for the same reason.
3. Start tracking my purchases
As I explained in a previous post, I mostly just nickel and dime my money away. It’s not that I’m spending $500 on purses, it’s that I buy cocktails here, dog toys there, and the next thing I know (or maybe, I don’t know), $500 is gone. Many people have recommended Mint.com, but in some ways I think that just using a plain old excel spreadsheet will work too. I’ll keep a list of purchases on my phone and every week I’ll plug it in.
4. Stop treating people so often
I’ve been treating my friends to things a lot lately. From offering to buy the pitcher of beer to refusing offers to split a community pizza, I like being able to spend money on my friends. The problem is, that often doubles a regular expense into a pretty enormous cost. I’m not going to be cheap with my friends, but I’ve also got to be more comfortable with accepting their requests to share the bill with me.
4. Ask for tips and advice from friends
I want you guys to tell me – how can I get control of my spending? How do you guys make sure you aren’t going over budget? How do you avoid wasting money on “wants” instead of “needs”? I really want to know!