Spending money is a fact of life. You need to spend money to pay for the essentials, like food, clothing and a roof over your head. So it’s good to know that a budget can help you manage those expenses and keep your spending in check.
To avoid impulse purchases and other temptations, try to focus on healthy spending habits that help you manage debt. Here are a few tips and resources to help you get started.
Pay with cash, not credit cards
If you’re not buying with cash, try to limit your credit card purchases to the amount of cash you have on hand. Credit cards that give you cash back or other rewards aren’t a bad thing, but to avoid paying interest on the balance, you’ll want to limit your purchases to what you can pay for at the end of the month.
Don’t rush major purchases
When it comes to managing debt, impulse buying can be your worst enemy. It’s only human nature to get caught up in the excitement of buying something new, but that feeling of joy is often followed by buyer’s remorse. Instead of buying on the spot, try to put larger purchases on hold for 24 hours. There’s a good chance you’ll feel different about it the next day.
Stick to your budget
Healthy spending is tied to careful planning. And careful planning begins with a personal budget. Setting spending limits helps you decide what’s important in life and can help you stay focused on bigger goals. Stay realistic and watch out for triggers that may lead to impulse buying, like online shopping late at night or driving by your favorite bakery before work.
It helps to wait for sales and good deals, but try to resist the temptation to buy something for that reason only. Remember that it’s only a good deal if it’s something you really need. With that in mind, consider shopping for clothes off-season, and take advantage of coupons or promo codes online. If you need to purchase a big-ticket item, do some comparison shopping and online consumer research beforehand.
Watch out for small expenses
Even small expenses add up. Daily expenses often go unnoticed, but over time they can take a bite out of your budget. Look for creative ways to trim those costs, like packing your lunch, shopping for a better rate on car insurance or cutting back on monthly subscriptions. The same is true of unnecessary fees like late payments and ATM charges. You can avoid some of these simply by planning ahead.
Start an emergency fund
Your car breaks down. That bill from the dentist is bigger than you expected. And the holidays are right around the corner. Set up an emergency savings fund so you’re prepared for any unexpected expenses that come your way. When you don’t have enough cash on hand, a backup savings plan is your best defense against using a credit card.
Use coupon sites and budgeting apps
If you’re serious about spending less and saving money, there’s no shortage of resources available to help you reach your goals. A little research and planning can help you choose the ones that are right for you, from saving and budgeting apps to money management software. Coupon sites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com and Savings.com offer everything from discounted gift cards to cash-back offers and online coupons or coupon codes.
Start planning your budget today with Nimbl.