Sometimes, just telling yourself to stop spending doesn’t work. It may now be a habit, a distresser or your funny way of showing the kids you care.
Whatever your reasons, it’s now time to stop and tackle your inner spending monster head on, right now, in fact.
We’re all agreement that spending money is easy. A few quid here and there doesn’t start showing up in till the end of the month when your card has been declined and you can’t even afford milk for your cornflakes.
Maybe, but over a course of a month, without realising it, you could have spent hundreds of pounds on pretty much nothing at all.
It’s so easy to just fling a card at someone in the supermarket, or at the pump, and not notice how much you’ve spent.
To some, it can be an addiction, that leads down a black hole of massive debt. A few pounds here and there really can turn into thousands over a year.
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Have I scared you yet?
If any of this rings true, then maybe it’s time to stop spending altogether. Think of it like a detox or diet if you must, but from today, you’re going money free.
Ask Yourself Three Questions
Do you really need it? Do the kids really need to go to an expensive theme park? Is it a special occasion?
I’m not saying don’t spend. Work hard spend hard is my motto, but do it right. If this is what you and the kids have been waiting for all month then do it. If it’s a spare of the moment idea after another tough month, then maybe strip it back and think how you could all have a family day out but cheaper.
I know this won’t work for everyone, but asking myself these simple questions helps me to decide if what I’m doing to financially rational.
No Money Days
If things are tight one month or every month, then it’s time to put a plan in place.
Sit down and budget everything out.
If your food bill is over £50 a week for four people, then it might be time to start meal planning. Stick to your list while you’re shopping, and don’t let the kids sneak anything in! If its name isn’t down, then it’s NOT going in. Simple. Not only will it keep your food costs down, but stop you wasting food too.
Take a small portion out for essential kid stuff, like shoes, uniform or make it the school trip fund.
Have days when you spend zero cash. Yep, with kids, that’s not easy, but there are loads you can do that costs you zero, regardless of where you live! Library’s, parks, skating rinks and museums to name just a couple.
Leave Your Money at the Door
When you know you’re going out and may be tempted to spurt the cash, leave your money at the door.
That includes everything from bank cards, to the loose change in your pocket.
Know you will want a coffee at 11 am? Then take a furnace and enjoy it all day long.
Think about dinner too. If you know you’re going to be in late, then why not make a slow cooked meal instead of heading to your nearest fast food joint? Nothing like a nice curry or spaghetti Bolognese after a long day with the kids.
What It Costs in Real Time
Before you do anything or get your wallet out, have a think about how much it would cost you in hours worked. So if you earn £7 an hour and the trip out or item costs £180, you’d have to work 26 hours. That’s a lot of hours for one day out!
Focus On Your Savings or Debts
Work out how long it will take you to pay off your debt or increase your savings if you give in. Think of it as another payment toward owning your own home or another step toward that amazing family holiday you’ve always wanted.
If you’re having a lighter month, then stick to your goals. Don’t let that money burn a hole.
Set yourself the challenge of seeing how long that money can set there. One day? Three days? However many it is, it will feel like an achievement to have it still sat there after a busy day.
Want To Go Further?
Then why not rehaul all your finances and start cutting out the things you don’t use. Cancel any TV subscriptions, invite friends round instead of going out (get them to bring a bottle or two) and grow your own veg.
The possibilities are endless!