I’m very young– this means I don’t have many bills.
I also work a decent-paying day job that I love.
I’m very fortunate to be making enough money to be able to save most, but somehow I still manage to spend almost every dollar in my checking account in the two weeks between paychecks.
I will be the first to admit I am addicted to buying things, and absolutely have a spending problem. The next step is to identify why I spend so much of my money, and how to hold onto it tighter.
Why am I Spending So Much Money?
I feel everyday that it is a good day to spend some money. When I’m feeling down, buying things is therapeutic. When I’m feeling good, I’ll call it a celebratory purchase. In reality, it’s just a habit to go buy something new when I have a few minutes of spare time.
There’s a very short-lived rush when I buy something new, but about 80% of the time I forget about the item within a week.
Last week, I even discovered a Target bag full of brand new makeup and accessories I hadn’t touched and had completely forgotten about.
I still have five candles that haven’t seen fire.
The plan to alleviate this particular issue is to make a wish list so that every time I see something I want to impulse buy, I can write it down. After two weeks, I can look over it and cross out the things that no longer captivate my interest. I can allow myself to buy the things I still love.
I imagine I will tire of many ideas within two weeks, seeing as it only takes one week to forget about the purchase after I buy it.
I Spend Money Because of my FOMO
FOMO: The fear of missing out.
I have seen social media come and go as I’ve grown up. Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Reddit, Tiktok, Pinterest, etc. have always been in front of my eyes. I always know what the next best thing is and where I can buy it.
Sometimes I think it’s just plain cruel to deprive myself of what everyone else has.
In reality, everyone doesn’t have the next best thing. Super cool social media people are just marketing. They’re trying to sell affiliate products and themselves to their audience.
It’s important to prioritize what you are interested in over what everyone else is interested in.
I Used to Spend and Save Random Amounts
My old strategy was to just put the whole paycheck in my checking account and save what was left when my next paycheck came out.
Needless to say, this strategy didn’t work out too well– if it’s available, I’ll spend it.
I’m a newcomer to this whole writing a budget thing. It’s really hard to stick to a very specific budget, but I find that putting aside a certain amount and still giving myself enough money to spend comfortably really helps.
For example, out of a paycheck of $1,000, I’ll put aside $600 for my current bills and savings and leave $400 in my spending account for the next two weeks. At my current level of needs, $200 a week is plenty to grab some fast food a couple times a week and maybe a cute pair of shoes once, as well as keeping my gas tank full.
My budget sheet works well for me, and maybe it will work well for you. I will leave it available to download below:
Do You Spend Too Much Money? FORGET Credit Cards
If you’re like me and spend everything you have available– pay off that credit card debt and bury the card.
I firmly believe credit cards are a trick to rob you while making you feel like you have more money. If you wouldn’t pay for something in cash, you should NOT pay for it with credit.
As much as credit cards feel like free money, they aren’t, and will just end up being another bill to pay in the long run.
Grocery Shop for Grab and Go Foods
I’ve recently become a huge proponent of snack bars and frozen meals. It’s not luxurious, but I’m also not buying lunch at work everyday and blowing half my paycheck.
If heating up a chicken pot pie isn’t your thing, consider meal planning and cook your lunches for the week in one go. Really some protein, some rice, and some veggies to freeze and throw in your lunch bag should be sufficient.
Plan your grocery trips for your meals in advance as well; I don’t spend much at the grocery store these days because I know what I want before I go– and I am a huge eater.
Lastly– Stop Spending Money by Getting Excited!
What helps me the most is remembering why I can’t touch my savings account. My savior right now is the trip I want to take to Barcelona. I’m daydreaming of a nice hotel with a bar (I can legally drink in Spain!) and a colorful city with a beach.
This makes it really easy to have more excitement over a larger savings account than a chic outfit at the mall. The more I save, the closer I am to my dream vacation.
Find a great reason to save your money, and it will be so much easier to save!