Staying Focused While Spending Less

Spending LessA 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.

Avoid Temptation

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.

Be Strategic

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.

Comments

Staying Focused While Spending Less — 41 Comments

    • I love the ease of the viewing all my spending on credit card statements. I could never keep up with dealing with paper receipts and cash.

    • I started the cutbacks last year. We started at $500/month. This year I added another $300+ in cutbacks. It was sort of gradual. But yeah it does take time to adjust but it can be done.

  1. I do all of these! Tracking spending is a must, in my opinion. Even if you don’t have a specific budget, knowing where your money is going is important. I also reduce temptation by avoiding certain websites and stores. Out of sight, out of mind is right!
    E.M. recently posted…Being Grateful: Twenty-Ninth EditionMy Profile

  2. Great points Raquel! For me, changing my mindset was one of the greatest tools for me to save money. It is amazing how much our spending habits reside in our minds or in our emotions and it takes work to shift your mindset, but my financial health was worth that work. Thanks for linking to my blog on DC’s site!!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Father and DaughterMy Profile

    • That is also a key point “spending less takes work”. But if you don’t do the work you will not see the rewards. It’s totally worth it.

  3. I really liked this post, and not just because I think this way and those are all the things I do too. Okay, well maybe it is the reason I like this post!!

    The tracking is key (daily or almost daily), stay away from the stores (not that I can’t go with someone and window shop, I’m so much more disciplined now because it’s a completely off limits area for me to spend money – black or white thinking is serving me well in this regard).

    Also, it’s short term. Well maybe for some of us (ahem!), it will be longer than others, but we can reassess when at the appropriate time.
    debt debs recently posted…Debt DeliberationsMy Profile

    • Thanks Deb. Many of these things can be life long strategies that can help you get out of debt and stay out of debt. Especially the mentality part.

    • I’ve heard so many people tell me, “I don’t know where my money is going”. The first step is to track your spending.

    • It definitely puts spending in a different perspective when you change your mentality.

    • Yea, knowing your weaknesses and avoiding them will take you a long way into spending less.

    • Having a savings goal has also helped us. We are saving to have some repairs done on the house so that has been a great motivator to spend less.

  4. Good post, Raquel.. You certainly have to spend the time to track your spending.. or you will never know where that money is going!.. Sometimes you can uncover some amazing things when you stop and take the time to look.
    jefferson recently posted…A Place To PlayMy Profile

    • Thanks. It has definitely been an eye opener and you learn a lot about your habits.

  5. I have not started to track my day to day spending. I need to do this. I think that would really help me when it comes to long term debt repayment. Thanks for posting.

    • Simple strategies work great. You have to do whatever you can to avoid those temptations.

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  7. $883 is incredible.. nice work! That adds up quickly. Cutting back and saving money really is a mental challenge more than anything else. You can absolutely still live life to the fullest and still save money. We try to just make sure we get out of the house. For example bike rides, picnics, walks. Getting outside really helps us stay happy, healthy and motivated.
    Liz recently posted…Ten Ways to Get Noticed at WorkMy Profile

  8. Congrats on cutting your spending so much! Avoiding stores was the #1 way we cut out stupid spending. We used to go to the mall on weekends out of boredom, especially when our daughter was little and we wanted to get out of the house. When you’re there, it’s too tempting to talk yourself into why you need something or why it’s a good deal. There are many other places you can go if you’re bored like the park or even just watching a movie. No spending temptation there.

    • Thanks! It really does make a big difference to avoid the mall and other stores as much as you can. We do some of those things you mention and just taking a walk around the neighborhood is better than heading to the mall especially in the summer time.

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