In this economy, who doesn’t need help with improving their spending habits? Even if you are sure you are not spending more than you are bringing in, are you saving as much as you would like? Are you giving to your church and other charities as much as you would like to be? Are you sure you aren’t wasting money on frivolous purchases? Keep reading for some tips on how to improve your spending habits.
1. Pray about your spending, saving and giving habits. Ask for wisdom, self control, grace and whatever else you think you will need. A must-do step for every Christian.
2. Keep a spending diary. There is simply no substitute for this. You must know where every penny is going. Record when (date, time), where, how much, for what, type (cash, check, charge). Not only that, start recording how you were feeling (physically and emotionally) and your thoughts when you do any spending. Record your feelings even for the most necessary of expenses. You may eventually find that what you once thought was an absolute necessity wasn’t after all. If you don’t record everything you will be missing vital information to help yourself spend less. This recording habit will be helpful later on to track your improvement progress.
3. Write out a realistic budget. Yes, another vital thing-to-do in order for you to become wiser in your spending, saving, giving. You may need to wait on this step until you’ve done your spending diary for a month or so. Even then, you may need help in coming up with a realistic budget. If so, contact your financial planner or personal coach for help.
4. Brainstorm ideas to bring in more money. When brainstorming, write down everything, even things that seem stupid. You can edit the list later on and you might find that the “stupid” idea linked to several really good ideas that you would have missed had you edited it before you even wrote it down.
Some questions to get you started: Could you get a part time job? Could you sell some things on e-bay? Could you ask your boss for a promotion? Could you go back to school to get a degree for higher wages later on?
5. Brainstorm ideas to save money. Again, do not edit the list until you are done. Some ideas to get you started: Could you car pool to work? Could you lower your thermostat at home? Could you buy less junk food? Could you eat at home more often? Could you cancel magazine, cable, internet subscriptions?
6. Give more. This is a little hard to explain but in the spiritual realm giving more brings more to you. Try not to give just to receive. Give in the areas that you feel most needy yourself.
7. Gather all the data you’ve collected in your diary, budget, and brainstorming and if there are still some information holes, then do some research on the internet for that specific area. For example, you may have been very frugal all your life in your eating habits but never took a minute to think about the way you use energy (electricity, water, gas etc.) and this in example you could research the internet on how to save money on energy.
There are so many different ways you can save money on so many different categories of things. This post was meant to look at spending in a broad general way. It wasn’t intended to be about saving or investing. Comments always welcome.