Evaluate Current Habits
Nurture Better Ones
Once you’ve identified the types of habits that are bringing your finances down, try to think of ways to avoid them. If you’re a fiend for dinner dates, try sharpening your skills in the kitchen. You can make delicious recipes for less that are more likely to leave you with leftovers that save you money and time throughout the week.
If late-night scrolling on Amazon is your trigger, consider making bedtime strict no-phone time. Instead, try starting a healthier nightly ritual by reading, chatting with a loved one, or sipping on some sleepytime tea. Another pro tip is to delete/unsave your credit card info from your favorite shopping websites. By doing this, you’ll have to enter your information in each time you go to make an online purchase—giving you time to think about whether or not you really need whatever’s in your virtual cart.
If the allure of a sale always seems to drag you into your favorite store, practice patience and ask yourself if you truly need that new scarf; after all, spending money on a sale is still spending, NOT saving (more on that here). Or, you can try to change your route to avoid that store altogether. If the impulse to buy, buy, buy still creeps up on you during your walk, you could try swapping spending big in your favorite store to spending small by treating yourself to your favorite baked good or latte along the way.
If you’ve gone without an organized budget, sit down and sort out your monthly expenses to gain clarity over your finances to see exactly where you have room to grow and room to splurge (learn more about budgets here).
Take Advantage of Direct Deposit
Changing your spending habits to become more financially savvy or frugal is a great way to stash those extra bucks and get ahead. And while many of us think that being frugal is the same as being boring, you can still go out for drinks, go to the movies, treat yourself to dinner, travel, and shop without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips:
- Once you have your budgets and place and are easily reaching your weekly and monthly spending goals, treat yourself to some fun with the leftovers!
- Scour the internet for any free concerts, festivals, or fairs that may be coming to a neighborhood near you.
- Clip coupons and use deal websites such as Groupon to plan activities or shopping trips ahead of time at a discounted price.
- Grab discounted drinks and appetizers during happy hour with friends.
- Take advantage of banking accounts that offer cash back, like Quontic’s Cash Rewards Checking Account.
However, there are some spending scenarios where being frugal can put you at a disadvantage. This year, don’t be hesitant to shell out cash for important things that are best left to professionals, such as home repairs, and be mindful of low-quality products that may end up costing you in the long run. For instance, if you buy a pair of low-quality pants that are quick to become threadbare and you find yourself replacing every two months, you’re better off buying a higher quality, more expensive pair of pants that will last a long time.
Switching up your spending habits may seem like a tough new year’s resolution to accomplish. But with a little bit of planning, a dash of mindfulness, and a pinch of flexibility, you can replace last year’s bad spending habits with this year’s healthy spending habits.