A few weeks ago I wrote about consuming less in moderation and how the 90+ study shows that it may lead to longer living. I’ve been working on paying off consumer debt from my home renovations and one of the things I’ve done to help me pay off the debt sooner is to consume or spend less in moderation. I say in moderation because I left room in my budget for some fun stuff too.
I’ve been able to cut $883 dollars from my monthly expenses so far. I wrote previously that I’m happy spending less because I didn’t cut everything fun out of my budget I just found ways to cutback and still keep some of the things that I enjoy. However, this can get a little out of hand if you don’t keep an eye on your spending. In this post I want to outline what I’ve been doing to stay focused while spending less.
Track Your Spending
The main way I stay focused is by tracking my spending. My goal is to hit the budgeted amounts every month. To help me track it all I keep an excel sheet and I use credit cards for almost every purchase I make while still earning points. Of course, I pay off the cards entirely at the end of the month. I find it so much easier to keep track of my spending this way because everything is recorded for me on my credit card statements. Then I add it to my excel sheet to see the overall picture.
Another way to stay focused on spending less is to avoid temptation. For example, I completely avoid going to the mall or to local stores unless I have to make a specific purchase. Out of sight, out of mind and I don’t buy randomly anymore.
Change Your Mentality
Though, I have to say that when I do go shopping now I have a different mentality so I’m not as easily tempted as I used to be. I’m more strategic now because I’m on a mission to pay off debt not get into more debt. Changing your way of thinking to spend less and achieve debt freedom will change your financial life. Learning this lesson is key to paying off debt and staying out of debt moving forward.
I’m now being more strategic when it comes to my spending. I have learned smarter strategies on how to maximize my spending while earning points for travel. Although I’ve been using reward cards for a while, I was never very strategic about it. I knew that earning points was a smart way to obtain more travel miles and rewards but now I see how I can stretch my spending dollars more efficiently by taking advantage of credit card bonus offers.
I love to travel and this has always been an area where spending less has been a challenge. I want to get back to traveling soon. Being strategic about my spending will allow me to travel while spending less.
I can be very challenging to spend less when there are so many things out there tempting us to spend more. If I didn’t track my spending, avoid temptation, change my mindset and become more strategic I could easily lose focus and be losing the spending less battle.
Photo by: Flickr
How are you staying focused when it comes to spending less?
Blog Link Love: My Favorite Reads
Why Bloggers Fail: Josh over at CNA Finance is writing a series on why bloggers fail every other Friday on his blog. I got this idea of adding a link love at the end of each post from him. Thanks Josh!
3 Money Practices that Ruin Relationships: Shannon wrote this post over at Young Adult Money. Great insights on Money and Relationships.