For me, there’s something about the fresh, fall air that makes me want to embrace new beginnings and improved habits. As a recent grad, I realized I don’t have any big academic goals this season which urged me to take a close look at my finances and make improving them a top priority.
How I Cut My Spending
Reflecting on a summer full of take-out food orders helped me decide to take some steps toward cutting my spending down this fall! I knew I needed to take action and get a hold on my spending habits, but I wasn’t sure where to begin.
I decided that the best way to determine how to cut my spending, would be to review my spending habits from the previous months. It was time to check in on my spending patterns and see how I could intentionally improve them.
I started out by tracking my spending from previous months!
This showed me what I tended to spend money on and when. For instance, lazy Sundays resulted in a lot of delivery coffee. And days when I was feeling a little blue resulted in excessive retail therapy.
As hard as it was to reflect on regretful purchases, it definitely helped me make a game plan for my financial future! I was able to develop 8 steps that helped me cut down my spending.
8 Ways I Cut My Spending
Create a budget
This is probably the most obvious idea when it comes to cutting spending. But it’s important to mention nonetheless. Creating a budget is an essential step in staying on top of your finances.
Planning out my finances each month helps me reflect on my needs and wants, and cut my spending in the process! Even if you don’t think you need a budget, you’ll be happy to see what it does for your bank account at the end of the month.
Track weekly spending
This method is probably a good one to use before you create your budget to help guide how your budget should look. But don’t stop there!
You should track your spending every week to make sure you’re staying on track and putting your money to the best use for you personally. KOHO is a prepaid Visa that is linked to a budgeting app. The app tracks and categorizes your spending making a great tool if you’re trying to cut spending. You can read our KOHO Review here!
Remember: cutting spending does not mean eliminating spending. You still need to live! There are a couple different ways I choose to shop smart. The first being the 45 minute shopping rule. To put it simply, this rule states that if you will not use an item for at least 45 minutes per day, you do not need to own it.
Having this rule in mind definitely stops me from making impulse purchases! Not only that, but I keep an eye out for any useful discounts and deals, and reap the benefits of rewards programs for establishments that I frequent.
A couple weeks ago, I designated some time to mass-unsubscribe from email lists I didn’t even remember signing up for in the first place. Often retail stores will send you frequent updates on “deals” that truly just lure you into more debt or unnecessary spending, so I got rid of them!
Make new money goals
Sometimes focusing on a savings (or spending) goal can urge you to avoid over-spending! When I say savings goal I mean actual savings, like an emergency fund! But a spending goal weirdly also helps me cut my spending.
For example, right now I’m saving to buy a new laptop. It’s a non-immediate need and knowing I’m saving for it deters me from spending extra cash on unnecessary things.
Combat spending triggers
Spending triggers are anything around you that tend to be a catalyst for spending. For me, it is often emotionally driven spending. And while it may be ideal to remove these triggers, knowing ways to combat them is often the best approach!
I deleted food delivery apps from my phone because I know having them at the ready is an easy way for me to spend in an instant. I also try to combat over-spending on fancy skincare or other splurges when I’m having a bad day by being equipped with self-care tools like money set aside for a therapy session, or even a friend on call to vent to.
Make shopping lists
Even when I get my groceries delivered, I need to make a list. Otherwise I’ll overspend! No matter what I’m shopping for, I make a list ahead of time to keep from wandering the aisles or adding too many treats to my cart.
Downsize your life
Doing this in any capacity can make a huge difference! This could be anything from ordering a medium pizza instead of a large, or moving into a smaller space! As much as I’m sad to be leaving my more spacious apartment for a significantly smaller one, the amount of money I’m saving makes it entirely worth it.
I cut my spending, now what?
Well, it’s time to take advantage of the money I’ve saved. Since cutting my spending, I’ve been able to begin diligently paying off my debts and saving some cash here and there to build an emergency fund! It is by no means an instant process, but I am accomplishing financial goals that I couldn’t previously due to my poor spending habits.
On average, I was spending $100/month on delivery food. After taking a closer look at my spending, I decided to deposit $100/month into a high interest savings account. Re-allocating the money I was spending in more useful ways has been so rewarding!
Cutting your spending can be a daunting task
Especially if you’re like me and tend to rely on those impulse buys as a mid-week pick-me-up when you’re feeling low. But, you will thank yourself for it when you’re able to save more money and limit the guilt that unnecessary purchases provoke.
By making small changes to how you manage and spend money it’s easy to cut your spending down. And before you know it you’ll be impressed by your bank account balance and flexible budget!