A lot of us want to be able to save money to be able to buy a house, take a dream vacation, send kids to college, or be able to give to those in need, but many times we don’t see a way to take control of our finances.
Here are a few tips to start working towards a bigger savings account and less stress about financial security.
For all of us, our daily choices add up over time. Our money habits come from different places such as:
-The way you learned about money growing up. Whether it was intentionally taught to you or not, the way your family approached money is ingrained in the way you view money today.
-Your personality. Everyone is different, even if you grew up in the same circumstances with similar experiences, the way that those experiences affected and shaped you can be completely different.
-The media and culture surrounding money. With the internet, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements. Companies want us to buy their product and ads are framed in a way to make it seem that our life is not complete without their product/service. Social media has also set this imaginary standard of living where we need the “perfect” home, the “perfect” vacation, the “perfect” outfit, etc. which can cause some of us to spend more money than necessary to keep up with images.
-The environment you’re in. Some places make us feel like we need to spend money. Craft fairs, malls, or vacation are all examples of this. Try to steer clear of the temptations of these environments and if you do go, maybe bring a set amount of cash to spend and leave your credit cards at home.
-Your Mood. The term “retail therapy” is around for a reason. The instant boost of happiness we get when making a purchase can make us feel better temporarily. Forty-five percent of Americans say they’re spending more during the pandemic. Emotional spending feels good but does not give us long term positive feelings and can actually make us feel a little guilty for spending that money instead of saving. Next time you find yourself on Amazon without needing to be, try going for a walk or working on a hobby to help you feel better.
-Peer pressure. You might spend more than normal when you’re out with your friends, even friends with the best intentions can be a bad influence. Try doing things together that are free or cost less, such as going out for coffee instead of dinner, heading to a park or beach, or having a potluck at someone’s place. Let your friends know you’re trying to spend less, and they might help you on your journey or follow suit!
-Your Lifestyle. Being accustomed to a certain lifestyle can be difficult if financial hardship is suddenly encountered. It’s important to try not to overspend to keep up with your lifestyle. If you find yourself constantly in debt, pulling out credit cards or personal loans, it may be time to evaluate your lifestyle and make some changes. Our upbringing can have a big effect on our lifestyle. If you grew up in a household where money was always tight, you might budget every penny or you might feel compelled to overspend to have the things you could not when you were younger. If you grew up in a household where money wasn’t an issue, you might be accustomed to a standard of living and may be overspending to maintain it.
Here are some spending habits to break:
-Spending without a plan
-Paying for convenience
-Spending without tracking
-Spending to feel better
How to Break Bad Spending Habits
-Get on a budget. Give every dollar a purpose at the beginning of the month and make sure some goes into savings. Without savings to cover an emergency, your financial security is at risk, and you might turn to using credit when something bad happens.
-Understand yourself and your motivations. Everyday, we have the power to make decisions that will move us forward or back financially.
-Meal plan. Planning meals at the beginning of each week can help you avoid eating out which can save lots of money. Plus, it will help if you have health goals as well!
-Wait before you buy. Ask yourself why you want to buy something. If it’s something you can live without or maybe something you wouldn’t buy unless someone was going to see you with it, it might be best to avoid the purchase. This helps avoid those impulse purchases you may make while feeling emotional.
Getting your finances in order is the first step to buying a house. If you feel like you’re ready to start exploring options, reach out to us so we can discuss your home buying plans! 954-559-4644
Here is a spreadsheet to track your spending, so you know where your money is going, and you can track your spending habits and be more informed when you start to budget your money.