5 Strategies for Cutting Your Spending

3 min to read
The lyrics to a Billy Joel song say, ”Honesty is such a lonely word.” And if we are trying to be honest with ourselves and spend less, we need to come clean about where we need to cut back. We may have to tweak a few of our habits in order to do so. According to the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, “To understand your own habits, you need to identify the components of your loops. Once you have diagnosed the habit of a particular behavior, you can look for ways to supplement old vices with new routines.” Here are 5 strategies to make cutting spending part of your routine.

1.Stop being all over the place.

Do you make a beeline to the store every time you run out of one little thing? Do you really have to buy orange juice, cotton swabs or peppermint dental floss right now or can it wait until the next shopping trip?  Make a list of needed items as you run out. Try to choose a certain day of the week to pick up these items so you can make one trip. Limit running out here and there for random stuff. You can cut back on how much gas you spend and save time.

2. Get your just desserts.

If you tend to eat out every weekend, try to cut back and get the money you deserve to put towards your goals. If you normally spend 100 dollars a week on eating out or on other entertainment, that’s roughly 400 dollars a month. Spend half of that amount and you can free up $200 in your budget. You can eat at home and then head out for dessert or another special treat. Get a frozen yogurt, stop at a fancy cupcake place you’ve been meaning to try or get a smoothie.

3. Make it a routine procedure.

If you go for a special treat, also incorporate a free form of exercise when you head out. After scouting out where to have your treat, find an area close by where you can get some exercise too. Take a walk at a nearby park, see if there’s a local trail or even an area with sidewalk and perhaps, take a stroll and peruse a new area.  Pick either the place to walk and then locate a sweet shop or vice versa. Look at an online map and plot out your inexpensive activities in advance. This will be a sure-fire way to have something to do instead of your more costly habit.

4. Schedule the savings.

Unless you have set plans for the weekend, jot down a bunch of free or low-cost activities you are willing to try. Scout out area events such as free concerts, town festivals and other inexpensive things to do locally. Then put them on all on your calendar. If using a web based calendar, make sure it reminds you by email or text for upcoming events. Also, include activities like walks, visiting parks or other ideas you can do at any time. You will always have something to do that involves little or no spending on a recurring basis. This way you don’t have to come up with new ideas every weekend, you can pick from ones that are ready made.

5.Be goal-oriented.

If you use a site like Mint.com, you can set goals right on their site. When you register your accounts, you may not only see where your money goes, you can set up goals to make sure you stick with what you set out to do. If you are looking to spend less in a certain category, do so on the site as a reminder to do so.

Spending habits can always be improved. Use the strategies mentioned above to help you. You can cut your spending and still enjoy yourself while cutting back.

Karen Cordaway is a teacher and writer who currently shares money saving ideas on her website, MoneySavingEnthusiast.com. Follow Karen Cordaway on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MSEnthusiast