Here are a few ideas for implementing a more balanced spending lifestyle:
Impulse spending and mindless shopping: Stop having shopping be your sport, social life or exercise regimen. Have a “buy someday” list handy at all times. You can keep it on your computer or handwrite it, bulletin board, refrigerator, etc. but create this list in a way that you and/or your family will continue to keep up on it. Always keep updating it as it does need to be current. Then meet once a week or once a month and decide then, (not when you are in front of the infomercial at 3:00 a.m.) what on this list is legitimate and needs to be purchased or what can wait or what will never be. If you have already bought some items take them off, if you know in your heart of hearts that you will never ever really buy the pink and blue Elvis costume including the authentic wig for $15,000.00 put that on another list maybe. This list helps tell your brain that you are doing something; taking action and having control to get the fix you need when you feel the “need” for impulsive purchasing. You will know at the time of reviewing the list, what your $ resources are and your challenge is to try to match up priorities now when you are calmly looking at the facts, not in the middle of a mall full of flesh eating zombies and discounted Christmas decorations. Most things will wind up moving down the priority list pretty quickly, and that is a good thing, it shows you how quickly you can really do without most of your impulsive re-action shopping.
Eating out in restaurants: There can be great compromises in this category because you have more control over this decision than you think. Even though it seems more convenient to meet friends at some pricey restaurant sometimes, you could have easily either all brought a dish, or grabbed deli food and went to a park. Be smart about what really is a good deal to eat at home or is it better to order out. Macaroni and cheese can be a little step up when in a restaurant, but not $15.00 worth, especially ala-carte. Also, drinks and extras; there have been times when just the drinks with alcohol or not have been over $12.00 of only one persons bill. Go out and have fun, just be smart about it, because it can get very expensive very quickly.
Fees, fees and more fees: It does not matter if you call it points, or interest or late fees or insurance or delivery fees or transaction fees or human being helped me fees; ITS ALL MONEY, your money! Don’t get caught up in the verbiage. Be realistic as to what you are paying to whom. There is never a good reason to save money at 1.25% when you have a credit card balance eating your life away with either high interest or low interest and high fees. Same goes with every company that you deal with, don’t go with them because they are telling you it’s a better deal then they had last year, who cares, you do the research always find a better deal, always stop and take the time to evaluate the “real numbers”.
So there is some food for thought, each person can come up with their own brand of trying to contain any useless spending. The key is to take control yourself before it controls you.