How to Stop Spending Too Much Money NOW!

How to Stop Spending Too Much Money

Hello!

I’ve recently shared that I’ve been on my Debt Free Journey for a year now.  I plan to share exactly how much debt I’ve managed to eliminate within this year in a later post.  Now, however, I’m addressing what got me into debt and what exactly I’ve done to get out of debt. My first step was to stop spending too much money NOW.

By now you should know the key to getting out of debt is to earn more and spend less! While I definitely don’t consider myself an expert at earning more and spending less, I do think that the things I’ve done to stop spending too much are achievable and can be helpful to someone.  

What I did to stop spending too much money  

1. Track and Analyze my Spending

On a monthly basis, I review my bank statements.  I categorize my spending into gas, fast food, groceries, clothing, and bills and totaled my spending in those areas.  An additional category is miscellaneous which is where I payed close attention to see where exactly where I could cut cost.  I was able to realize just how much “little things” added up such as vending machine trips, candy and sodas from the gas station and random trips from the grocery store, Dollar General, and Target.  Afterwards, I would attempt to decrease spending in all areas by at least 10 percent.

2. Avoid triggers

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’re aware of how tempted I was by Target.  I would take random trips to Target, browse every isle, and spend hundreds of dollars on things I did not need, and some I did.  After maxing out my card, I did the same to my Mister’s card until we had TWO maxed out cards for one household.  Shortly after, I decided to begin my debt free journey.

To avoid behaviors that placed me back in debt, I removed my Target from my pocket book and had my mister place at the top of my closet in a pocket book without me looking.  Afterwards, I cut it up.  Now, to continue avoiding triggers, particularly emotional spending, I’ve unsubscribed from email list to avoid the temptation of online shopping, removed all my cards from my wallet, and shop with list in most cases.

How To Stop Spending Too Much Money-2

3.  Use cash

It took me a long time, like a really long time, to develop the habit of using cash instead of swiping my debt card. It also took me a long time to remove my debit card from my wallet and use cash only or the cash envelope system.  The cash envelope system is not working so well for me right now, swiping my cards had become so normal.  I plan on being more diligent and consistent in my efforts.

4. Develop a Budget

I developed a budget about three months into my debt free journey.  That budget did not work out so well after one attempt and I went back to my old system of paying bills, however I made sure to assign an increased amount towards my debt snowball payment.  I’ve since developed a zero based budget, which continues to be a work in progress.

All the above techniques have been helpful in preventing me from spending too much money and paying off debt in this first year of my debt free journey.  It does require lots of determination and discipline, which I didn’t have in the beginning.  Which why, it’s probably called a journey!

In addition to the techniques above, I’ve stopped spending money on these 4 things as well:

  1. Dunken donuts coffee
  2. Manicures and pedicures
  3. Fast food
  4. Pocket books and shoes

Here is a video explaining exactly how much debt I’m in and why I began my journey!

Please add any tips you have to help people from spending too much money below?  Is there anything that you stopped buying that you added back into your budget?

 

Avoid Financial Regret

avoid financial regret

Today’s post is a guest post from Michael.  Micheal blogs at Super Millennial.

Regret..it’s an awful feeling to have in your life.  I’m not quite 30.  I’m lucky to not have much regret, however this Business Insider article got me thinking of how much financial regret some people will have in their life. The article mentions five financial experts and the money regrets they look back on in their life.

Business Insider Financial Regrets to Avoid

  • Failure to do research to make an educated decision
  • Not listening to your gut if it doesn’t feel right
  • Not investing sooner
  • Living beyond your means & getting into debt
  • Ignoring a collection item

These are all very legitimate regrets and sure a lot of people are currently suffering from, or currently leading a life that will lead to these regrets. Let’s take a look at these five financial regrets and the necessary steps to take to make sure you never feel this type of financial regret in your future.

Failure to do Research

The article references a CPA who didn’t do his research when he bought their first house. Buying a home is most likely you’re biggest purchase ever and need to do your research. Before you even begin looking online at houses, do RESEARCH the following information:

· Use a mortgage calculator to find out what you can afford & the monthly payment amount (make sure to include taxes, insurance & HOA fees)
· Will you have any savings or will all your money be in your home?
· Evaluate if the house needs repairs, if so do you have the additional money?
· Is your credit score high enough to secure a low APR loan?
· How does it compare to other houses in the neighborhood?
· Would you be okay living there 5-10 years?

There are 100 additional questions to ask before buying a house but the same applies to buying or leasing a car. Make sure to do your research! These high-ticket items will be around in your life for a long time so make sure you really want it and can afford them.

Not Listening To Your Gut

The article references someone feeling pressured when meeting with financial advisors and the bad feeling they got during the encounter. Listening to your gut in most situations is usually the best solution; whether you’re unsure about taking a new job, feeling pressured by a salesman for a “limited time offer”, or hiring a financial advisor. In most situations you should at least sleep on big decisions for a night. If your gut still doesn’t like it the next day, don’t do it.

When it comes to financial advisors I think if you’re net worth is under $100,000 then you can manage your own finances. Paying someone to do it may be convenient but if you don’t learn now you may never. Most people who acquired wealth have had a solid understanding of their finances. That includes how much money they save, how much they spend, and where they invest. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your finances:
· Invest Enough in your 401K to match your employer match
· Open a Roth IRA to maximize retirement savings

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Not Investing Sooner

I’ve always been a saver but didn’t begin investing until I was 25. As the article mentions Jeff Rose, fellow blogger of Good Financial Cents said “if only I had started a Roth IRA at 18.” But let’s get real, from 18-22 the last thing on your mind is learning about low cost index funds and tax sheltered accounts.

Unfortunately after that age people then get busy with work, additional education, having a family, and keep up the same excuses. “I don’t understand investing, I don’t have the money right now, or I’m not going to retire for like 40 years.” While one or all of those may be true it’s important to take the time to learn about personal finance or investing earlier, rather than later. Not only will investing earlier compound your potential gains but it will create a habit for your brain to always invest a portion of your income and set up your older self for success. As mentioned previously start investing in your 401K and open a Roth IRA to ensure you can start benefiting from compound interest over time.

Living Beyond Your Means

How often do we all see this? People that make the same or less than you do but always seem to be living the life on Instagram…anyone can do it, but typically they’re just racking up high interest credit card debt trying to impress everyone.

Just STOP, do you need to buy bottle service every weekend? Or buy a car with a $500/month payment? Probably not. It’s important to understand how much you make, create a budget, and stick to it every month. Don’t rack up debt trying to impress everyone; you’ll create a vicious cycle that will be tough to climb out of when you realize how much interest you owe on your credit cards. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your spending:

· Track Your Spending with Mint or Personal Capital
· Track Your Net Worth (Download my net worth tracker here)

Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses…they’re broke!

Ignoring A Bill

Finally the last example is ignoring a bill that eventually ends up in collection. If you get a bill, pay it off, no matter how small, get the receipt and store it away. Even one item can have a serious impact towards getting a loan or even negatively affecting your credit. Bottom line…pay the bills! To ensure you don’t miss any bills I also recommend setting up automatic bill pay for your cell phone,
Hopefully everyone can avoid financial regret by sticking to a few simple, easy financial rules. Always do your research for big purchases, listen to your gut (it’s rarely wrong), start investing, don’t overspend trying to impress people and always pay your bills on time.

What has been your biggest financial regret?  

MichaelMichael L. is the creator of Super Millennial. He teaches millennials how to evaluate their financial situation, simplify money management & learn how to automate your investments to reach their financial goals. Subscribe for his personal finance “Keys To Success” and blog updates here. For additional updates, follow me on Twitter!

GDTH May DIY

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Hello GDTH followers!

I’m back At least I’m trying to be.  I think I came to a point were I realized that I bit of more than I could chew with all the hustling I had going on.  As a result my focus become more about the most lucrative hustles and less about GDTH.  However, I’ve discovered my balance and hopefully I an return to a normal routine and consistency.  In addition to being stretched way too thin, I also lost my writing motivation, as I had pretty much been successful eliminating my credit card debt, I know longer had interest in writing about it.  Hence my most recent post that have less to do with money and more about other aspects of my life.

Now more about this post!  I’ve realized that my creativity extends beyond writing and doing hair.  I’ve also noticed that when my motivation or inspiration diminishes in those areas it begins to BURST in others!  In addition to discovering my creativity in other areas, I’ve also decided that I wanted to create a home that has more of my family’s touch on it as well as functional spaces that we can enjoy.  I mean why not, its this home that is consuming most of my paycheck!  With that being said, I’ve started on my quest to create those spaces, beginning with our bedroom ( which I’ll share one complete) and decided to upscale some of the items we already had instead of purchasing newer ones.

One of those items was our ceiling fan! The mister and I originally picked a fan from Lowes.

Lowes fan

 This fan from Lowes.com was priced at $134.00.  Although, we could afford it why not save $100 plus dollars and update my fan myself?  Which is exactly what I did.

 

First I removed the fan and disassembled it.  I then cleaned it.  After I cleaned all the pieces (which were caked with dust)  I let them dry in the sun for about 30 minutes.

spray painting over goal piece taking fan down-2

Afterwards, I spray painted the metal pieces with Rustoleum, metallic spray paint in Soft Nickel. I applied about three coats letting them dry outside about 30 minutes a piece before applying the additional coats.

more spray paint spray painting IMG_1684

Once completely dry, I reassembled the fan!  I also purchased updated light covers to match the new more modern look.  The task all day from taking it down to putting it back up, but was totally worth it!


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For my first DIY what do you think?  Is your creativity reflected in other ways?  Would you like to continue to see GDTH DIYs showing how I’m saving money redecorating my home?

How to Accelerate the Debt repayment process Pt 2: Cutting the Spending

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How to Accelerate The Debt Repayment Process: Part II appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness.

Tuesday I blogged about my Accelerated Debt Repayment Process. Since then I’ve been analyzing my spending habits and my budget’s highs and lows, adding and subtracting to come up with a FAIL proof plan to ensure success on my accelerated debt payment process.

We all know that, or should know by now, or will know by the end of this post that the key to eliminating debt is to spend less and earn more.  In order  to determine where I could spend less, I combed through my spending from the previous three months.  I categorized each purchase, specifically of the miscellaneous category .  In the miscellaneous category, I discovered three monthly subscription fees that I immediately cancelled.  

  • Newspaper subscription #1    $11.99
  • Newspaper subscription #2    $8.99
  • Microsoft subscription             $ 10.66

Total                                                $31.64

Next, I discovered that I pay about $36.00 of insufficient fund fees that usually spike around the mid month paycheck.  I discovered this is the result of more than half of my monthly payments coming out of this check.  My resolution was to 1.) add overdraft protection by linking my checking account to my savings and 2.) switch two bills to the end of the month pay period.  This should eliminate the NSF completely.

Additionally, I’m incorporating two No Spend weekends.  I did this back in October and was pretty successful.  I usually do well planning , which reduces the chances of unplanned grocery store trips and/or fast food purchases. If anything is purchased on the weekend it is usually gas.  However because I am dedicated (for right now) I’m planning lots of ‘Netflix and chill’ weekends!

Finally, I’m ditching eating out from the budget completely adding another $50.00 per pay period as excess.  I’ve decided to adapt to vegan eating habits (but do not want to be labeled a vegan).  Since Wilson, NC has not joined the vegan bandwagon, my fast food options are limited to foods that are still not considered healthy (i.e.  Bojangles Cheese biscuits or KFC potato wedges) that I’m not eating either!

With success, I should have an additional $167.64 of excess to apply towards credit card debt payments.  If my calculations are correct, I should be able to eliminate each card in two months or less.  However, I’m still not sure if I will have had the truck  paid off by my target date.  We’ll just have to see!

Now that Christmas is over or a New Year is here, have you reevaluated your budget?  Did you make changes? Add or subtract catagories?

November Budget Review

Finally...My Budget

I was able to put my budget into place for the month of November.  Check out my original budget post here.  Prior to completing my actual budget, I tracked my spending carefully with hopes of developing an accurate family budget that would prevent overspending, encourage disciplined spending habits, and allow money to be saved.   I had mini budgets for transportation and groceries but not a complete budget.  So lets see how we did.

November 2015 Budget

Fixed Expenses Projected Actual
Mortgage $1000.00 $1000.00
Utility $319.00 $329.00
Cell phone $60.00 $120.10
Cell phone2 $298.00 $293.00
Cable $123.00 $102.11
Car payment1 $354 $365
Car Payment 2 $414.00 $150.00
Car Insurance2 $175.00 $165.00
Life Insurance $70 $70
Total $2,813 $2524.91
Other expenses Projected Actual
Groceries $300.00 $302.05
Eating out $50.00 $83.09
Clothing 0 $119.76
Transportation $160.00 $181.00
Entertainment 0 0
Credit Card (s) $394.00 $601.00
Miscellaneous 0 $356.37
Allowance $20.00 $20.00
Savings $25.00 $0
Totals $949 $1664.08

As you can see my budget was unsuccessful.  I had way more red areas than green. After reflecting, I’ve discovered what I did right, what I did wrong, and what needs to be changed in the following months to be more successful.

What I did right

  • My projected bills compared to actual bill amount was pretty accurate.  I tracked the spending accurately and usually do not have a problem ensuring they get paid.  Now that the Mister and I have switched bills, due to pay schedules, he usually is able to pay bills so that we avoid the late fee (although not the case in November with the utility bill).
  • I was able to drastically decrease my “eating out” budget from the high $100’s to just below, although not sticking to my $50.00 monthly budget.
  • I actually really spent $289.12 on groceries, coming in under budget, after uploading receipts to Ibotta, Saving Star, and Walmart Savings Catcher.
  • I was able to pay extra on Car payment number 1 because of how we have the payment arranged.  I do not mind, although I should be contributing it to my credit card, but I plan on having this paid off by next year and don’t mind paying the extra $11.00.
  • I was able to pay almost double towards credit cards, resulting in another card being paid off in December.

What I did wrong

  • As you can see, I only paid $150 of my car payment as a result of car taxes and registration fees along with an inspection which totaled $277.00.  I was prepared to pay for the registration fee but not the other fees.
  • I did not originally set a budget for miscellaneous spending and ended up adding it once I totaled the amount spent on  items that were not originally in a category.
  • The cable and telephone bill was not paid timely resulting in a late fee.  In addition to the late fee, I drastically went over my data causing my bill to double. However, I will be moving over to a prepaid plan that is much less and includes unlimited data.
  • Although gas prices are at an all time low of $1.89 in NC, I went over my travel budget which was developed when gas was almost twice the amount per gallon that it is now.  However, I received a milage reimbursement of $302.06, so I actually came in under budget for transportation expenses.
  • I did not save a penny.  ALL my money went to “something or someone” which resulted my realization that we may be living way above our means even after paying off four credit cards!

What I will do differently

  • To be much more successful in December, I will better track the items I’m purchasing and categorizing the “miscellaneous” items.
  • I plan on setting up a savings account for the coming year to avoid having to skip bills to pay the taxes, registration fees, and any additional car related expenses for 2016.
  • Make sure I pay myself first, even if it is just $25.00 at each pay period.
  • Change cell phone carriers to an unlimited package to better meet my needs and avoid additional fees.
  • Continue to look for ways to reduce or eliminate bills.
  • Be more diligent in tracking spending throughout the month instead of totaling the amount at the end of the month.  Periodic or routine checks will help to prevent my overspending in all areas.
  • Continue to notice weaknesses and make improvements or changes where needed.

Developing this budget and reviewing it has encouraged some 2016 money goals to put into action.  I’ll share those goals closer to the end if the month.  I’ve most recently been inspired by Chone @ My Debt Epiphany who has recently paid off her car loan and was contributing $1000/ month towards debt!

 

What helps to keep you on track with your budget?  Are there any applications that assist with tracking spending?  Any advice on how to be more successful in the future.

How to eat healthy on a budget!

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 As seen in my 4 Things I’m doing to save money in September, I carried over my goal of continuing to eat breakfast and lunch from home.  This week I made a series of salads for lunch and drunk smoothies for breakfast (I still stopped for breakfast at Bojangles on Tuesday, Thursday and Today, holds head in shame.)

Continue reading “How to eat healthy on a budget!”