It’s the end of Summer and you may find yourself asking what happened to all your money. The warm season often encourages additional spending on outdoor activities, festivals and other events in your area. But if you seem to be stretched thin, you could be spending beyond your means. To help get your finances under control and prioritize your budget for the Fall, you need to make an effort to rein in your spending. Here are some tips:
Track Your Spending
If you don’t know where your money has been going you need to start tracking it. Save your receipts and write down what you purchase. Use a budgeting app like Mint to track your spending electronically. Monitor your spending for several months. You may be surprised by what you find.
Create Realistic Goals
Once you know where your money is going, you should set some goals to help prevent overspending. You probably won’t be able to curb all your extra spending entirely at first. It takes time. Try looking for discounts instead of paying full price. Spend some time doing more comparison shopping to make sure you get the best price for an item.
Pay Down Your Debt
The longer you carry a balance on a credit card, the more you’ll pay in interest rate charges. Make sure you don’t borrow more than you can repay in a few months. If you only make the required minimum monthly payment, you’ll accumulate a higher balance and have a hard time eliminating the debt.
One of the best ways to reduce temptation is to avoid places where you’re likely to make a purchase. This includes physical and online stores. It has become quite easy to buy something with the simple click of your mouse. Try reducing your credit card use as well. Pay with debit cards, checks, or via direct payment from your accounts, so you don’t borrow money you can’t pay back. When your funds run low, you’ll have to make choices about your discretionary spending. To pay for gas, you may have to forgo a trip to your favorite restaurant, for example.