Ever wonder what your incoming vs. outgoing money ratio would look like if you took a certain amount of time to only spend on needs and not wants?
Do it for a week or a month at a time. Add up at the end what was spent. Compare that to what was spent during an equal amount of time prior to the spending freeze.
It can be astonishing. When you look through your credit card statement each month, what’s on there?
Are there a lot of overpriced, forgettable purchases? The fast food lunch on Wednesday – will you remember it three weeks from now? If not, it’s one of those forgettable spendings. Change that.
Save that $8 that would be spent on that forgettable meal out each work day, and imagine setting a $5 dollar bill and 3 $1 bills towards paying off debt. If your debt is already gone (and yes, that is possible! And you’ll be living freer/lighter than ever), then imagine setting that cash towards something you really want, something you yearn for. What is that thing that motivates you to deny yourself right now the convenience of that deli sandwich and remember to pack leftovers instead?
After our family’s recent trip to Rome, I realized, that’s what it was for me. That’s what motivated me to say, “Oh, I just sat down, but you know what a light got left on in the hallway, let me get up and turn it off. It was travel that made the small self denials absolutely worth it, even easy.”
What if during this 30 day challenge (and beyond), you see every purchase through the filter of “at the end of every month, the credit card must get paid in full”?
When you ask yourself, can I afford this? That does not generally mean, do I have the ability to have debt for this, it means, have I saved up the cash funds for this? If yes, then great, maybe now’s the time to purchase. If not, try to resist until you have saved up the cash to afford it.
Apps that you pay for, brainstorm to see if there’s a way you can use one of comparable quality which is free. For example, a friend told me about the Libby app. My husband switched from paying for Audible to Libby, a free public library app that provides electronic and audio books.
Are you paying for YouTube Premium? What if you absorbed the inconvenience of having to wait five seconds to skip ads and got regular YouTube for free instead?
Even the money saving apps, like Ibotta and Checkout51, remember, they pay you money because in exchange they know they have you scrolling for a number of minutes through their ads, their images, their reminders in order for you to redeem your receipt or purchase for 25 cents back.
I know it’d be fun and convenient to rent a movie to stream right now on Amazon, but what if you got on your computer and requested it from your library instead? They can bring it from any location in your county and have it at the hold shelves for you in a day or two for free.
(Also, consider removing the Amazon app from your phone. When it’s a little less convenient to order that random impulse on a whim, you’ll save!)
Can you stay out of stores more? Just don’t walk in. Find something else to do. Avoid the location and temptation.
And if you need to go to a store, what if you bring only cash? It will limit your spending and make you more conscious of your choices.
Remember too when you say no to something now so that you can save up for it later, you aren’t saying no forever.
Remember, you’re learning a life skill that will trickle into other areas of your life.
Remember, every area of life is enhanced by discipline – relationships, health, finances.
Saying no to a frivolous expenditure is freeing, and that can feel surprising. You are not dictated to by your wants. Be in charge of your spending.
You can do this! It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. It can be done.
You’ve got this! Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more tips and encouragement!