I'm Not a Saver When It Comes to Money, So I Did This…

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Getting one’s finances in line is and should be a new year’s goal every year! For me, I call it “Getting my Money Right”, and for most people, over the age of 21, at some level, it must cross your mind at some point, cause in our consumer-driven society, it doesn’t just happen!

That is to say, to be a good American, we are all “Spenders”. Not in an addictive manner, though some of us are fully committed to the philosophy, “I spend therefore I Am.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have five maxed out credit cards, or anything like that, but I do my part to support the economic well being of our country. With that, I must admit, that I fail to take care of my finances in the right way! The first step in a cure is to admit to the ailment but when it comes to the “right way”, one size does not fit all! But there are common threads in all the right ways that are truly effective.

If you think you’re a great spender, use it to your advantage by learning to save by spending less. I personally tried to pinpoint exactly what makes me want to spend my money, and set up a series of tactics to help me succeed when I feel the urge to spend! Nothing that requires huge actions or changes that leave me feeling deprived. (I hate to feel deprived). All of my nudges are small things that help me recognize my urges and to make day to day choices about how and when to spend, resulting in me saving money. Below are simple ways that have worked for me. You can possibly use one or more of these examples to create your own solutions, making your choice to save easy and non-restrictive.

Set Realistic Goals

We all have, or should have financial goals to reduce debt and increase savings but to be debt free ultimately! The master key to it all is self-discipline. Certified individual and small business coach, Doreen Ayafor, explains it well, suggesting that “getting the individual to understand that they have to get control over their money. So really getting that mental strength to accept that money is part of life and you have the ability to manage it and build on it.”

To be successful in doing this, it’s best to set a realistic and achievable plan. Writing realistic financial goals down in my journal seems to make a difference. Writing them down seems to establish a level of commitment, making it more likely that I take my financial plans seriously, and accept them more easily.

Set Up Bills for Automatic Payments

As I’ve noticed, I don’t get bothered with my healthcare and 401k retirement plan money automatically coming out of my paycheck, I thought maybe I would feel the same with other bills being handled the same way. Setting up an automatic payment transaction for bills and for savings account will help force the issue. Helping you to stick to financial goals as opposed to giving into small temptations here and there with your money.

You may also like: This ‘Financial Feminist’ Wants Us Women to Take Control of Our Own Money

Unsubscribed To Those Shopping Emails

This idea was actually a great decision for me. Seeing those “30% Off Now! – Sale” emails happen to be one of my most effective spending triggers. Online shopping is my biggest downfall when it comes to money. I mean how many shoes are too many shoes, ladies? So I unsubscribed to a few online stores that really did not serve my interest. I also unsubscribed to a few companies that typically get my coins (Damn you Zara!). Not seeing those tempting prompts in my emails helps me fight the urge to spend. Trust me, if you don’t see the temptation, it’s much easier to avoid it?

Changed My Eating Habits

Changing my eating lifestyle has made me much more self-conscious about the restaurants that I choose for dining out. Instead of eating out, where I’m convinced I sacrifice the best ingredients and are just plain pricey sometimes, I researched other more healthy alternatives. Dining out or ordering food can really add up if you’re not paying attention. Cooking weekly prep-meals is also a great alternative that results in spending less and a better sense of exactly what I am putting inside my body. Looking up delicious and cost-conscious recipes also adds to my savings, and my sense of accomplishment.

Talked to a Professional

I knew I needed a reality check on my finances, and with it, a reason to stop trying to keep a running total of my expenses in my head, so I set up an appointment with a finance expert (preferably a black owned business that can understand my personal financial goals and needs). Being absolutely honest about my financial situations with a stranger was the most uncomfortable feeling, but ultimately, I found it to be liberating and one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I learned that I’m not the only person making money mistakes and that even with that, I’m not so bad as I imagined. Matter of fact, there’s still hope for my future. A professional can guide you in learning the basic finance fundamentals, and even help you to become financially literate.

Guidance from another person’s expertise can be helpful in assessing spending triggers in a structured way: Asking myself why I need to make a particular purchase? How will this purchase be beneficial to me in the long-term? Generating self-reflecting questions that guide and align me in the right direction, resulting in saving and less spending accordingly.

Not to Overthink It–Finances Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Money mistakes are going to happen, accept it. Some based on false assumptions, and some based on ignorance, but in hindsight, they all look the same. So to resolve that problem, we have to learn from them and not make the same mistake over and over again. Prioritize which purchases are most important and cut out the ones that aren’t.

Making small, simple changes in my consideration of alternate outcomes and their likely effect on my finances is a great way to control my spending. Like, challenge myself to not buy any new clothing or shoes for a full month. Be proud of the small accomplishments and turn those accomplishments into lifestyle habits. Create a budget or adapt spending rituals for yourself. But do whatever you have to do to get your finances under control.

What other ways are you learning and working to control your spending? Comment below!

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