One way to take control of your spending is by creating a budget and sticking to it.
In my family, we were able to change our mentality from having easy access to our debit and/or credit cards that made it too enticing to just “pay and forget it.” Using cash only was the way to control our spending and find new ways to save.
One budgeting tool that works really well with cash only is called the envelope system. My husband takes care of the bill paying activities in our home but when it comes to shopping it’s all me. A couple of years ago, it hit us that we never had any money saved even though our salaries were OK. We had a set amount in our heads of how much we wanted to spend weekly and almost every time we would surpass it by $10 or $20. We would always find a way to justify going over. This led us to research this tool and ultimately prompted us to give this approach a shot.
What started as a necessity to control our spending turned into a double dog dare to see how much money could be left at the end on the month. Here’s how we did it:
We grabbed a few envelopes (we recycled junk mail envelopes) and divided them by the categories of our spending. We had envelopes for food, household items, gas and entertainment. We got paid twice a month, so twice a month we would add our budgeted amount to the envelopes.
By using this cash-only method, our shopping behavior changed. When the amount in the envelope starts to thin out we started asking ourselves, “Do I really need this?” It worked every time. We also continue to use coupons and discount codes to save even more.
You should give it a try! You’ll find that as you stick to this method, you’ll have enough money to reach your savings goals.