Being on a budget is hard enough. You plan to pay down debt, save money, and reach financial goals—all of which imply cutting back on spending. This is easier said than done. How do you deal with distractions on a budget?
How to Deal with Distractions on a Budget
- Identify Spending Triggers. Eliminating discretionary expenses is a huge part of budgeting. If you can understand your emotional and psychological triggers, you’ll remove the temptation to overspend. There are several factors that may impact why you shop. These include your mood, the time of day, your environment, peer pressure, and current lifestyle. For instance, feeling depressed or anxious may cause you to indulge in retail therapy in order to feel better. However, consider boosting your mood with physical exercise, such as going for a walk at the park or taking a swim instead. Not only will this curb your spending, but it will improve your health and wellness.
- Dump Credit Cards. If you’re committed to getting out of debt, you need to stop using your credit cards—now. When you go out to shop, do not take them with you. Erase your credit card number from your online shopping profile to ensure you don’t purchase multiple pairs of shoes with the single click of a button. And if all else fails, cut your cards up. Use them for absolute emergencies only.
- Be Honest. When you’re trying to save money, the people around us can often be our biggest temptations to overspending. No matter how well-intentioned your friends are, it’s okay to decline their invitations to go shopping, on vacations, or eating out, especially if you can’t afford it. Be honest with them about your financial goals so you don’t fall back into too much debt.
- Give Every Dollar a Job. Also referred to as zero-based budgeting, divvy up your money into smaller categories so that every dollar is accounted for. For instance, pay your immediate bills first, and then move the remaining money towards other accounts, such as your emergency and retirement funds. Enroll in auto-pay or automatic transfer so you don’t even have to think about it.
The path to financial peace of mind takes hard work and sacrifice. By modifying your spending habits and learning how to dodge distractions, you will be well on your way to successful budgeting. If you still need help, talk to a certified counselor at ACCC today! Call 800-769-3571.