Tired of spending too much money every month and staying stuck in your finances? This simple trick will put you on the road to spending less, so you can stick to your budget, save for the future, and pay off debt.
It’s an ongoing battle.
You make a budget; it seems to work on paper.
Yet by the 19th, you have that nagging anxiety that your budget is about to lose control like a two-year-old on a sugar high.
And at the end of the month, you find there’s nothing left over to put toward your savings goal, or even worse – you have to fall back on credit cards, again.
So you stay stuck in the spiral, unable to take steps toward your goals. All because you couldn’t seem to keep tabs on your spending.
What’s going wrong here?
The answer is simple.
The problem is, you don’t have a fool-proof way to keep tabs on your spending on a day to day basis.
Spending Less Doesn’t Always Mean Finding New Ways to Save Money
For most of the moms I work with, groceries tends to be a problem category.
After all, your food budget is likely your biggest variable spending category.
You spend hundreds of dollars (even $1,000 or more if you have a large family) every month to feed those growing bodies, and this gives a lot of opportunities to accidentally overspend.
You try to do your shopping once a week, but you end up asking your husband to pick up some milk and a few other things on the way home from work.
Before you know it, your budgets blown.
Your problem areas might be different. They could be clothes or coffee, or Carl’s Jr. runs.
Related: How to Stop Spending Too Much Money on Food
The point is, the weeks go by, and all you’re left with is a vague sense of dread that you’re overspending, but you don’t have any way to change what’s happening.
You don’t have any real-time information to tell you what’s going on with your budget.
How to Stop Spending Too Much (Even if You Have No Will Power)
For those of you that have gone through Budget Breakthrough, you know that categorizing your expenses daily is super important, but what I want to show you today goes one step further.
If you’re just starting out, the good news is, you don’t have to do an entire budget overhaul to start changing your spending habits.
Typically there are only one or two areas that are the problem.
If you focus in on those alone, you will be a whole lot closer to sticking to your budget each month.
How Do I Stop Spending So Much Money?
All you need need to do is keep your trouble spending categories at the forefront of your mind – all month long.
- Determine the variable budget categories that put you over budget every month.
- You need a visible area in your home to track your expenses. They should be displayed where you can glance at them any time of the day.
- Write down every single transaction as soon as you get home, and add it to your previous total.
As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.”
Yes, even though my family has been successfully budgeting and achieving our big financial goals for years now, we still have to keep tabs on these two: groceries and restaurants.
Can you tell our family loves food?
At my house, we use a white board that hangs in our kitchen. We use it for school work and kids’ art display, but we also keep a running total of our restaurant and grocery spending here.
By tracking your problem categories, you know exactly how much you’ve spent at any given moment without ever having to flip open your laptop, click on an app, or locate a spreadsheet.
How much do you have left to spend?
The answer is right there staring you in the face.
You get real-time information to help you make good spending decisions before they happen.
So at the end of the month, you’ll be dancing for joy on itty bitty shards of credit card plastic, instead of regretting going over budget.
Plus, your simple spending tracker allows you and your husband to communicate about money without ever saying a word.
What are your top two problem budget categories? Do you think this tracking method will help you stop spending too much on those categories?
Leave a comment and let me know. I always love to hear from you!
9 thoughts on “How to Stop Spending Too Much Money”
I always pay my monthly bills first. But then I feel entitled to buy what I want more than what I need. I have a very hard time reining it in for the next month. I grit my teeth trying to save those extra dollars.
Carmen, keep up the hard work. It can be tough to get in the habit of saving. Since you’re already doing well paying your bills, try this to help you save money. Set up an automatic deposit to your savings account that comes out right after you get paid. That way those extra funds are out of sight, out of mind, and there’s less temptation to spend, since it’s already out of your checking account. Do you think that would help?
What a novel, but simple idea! Thanks Shannon! My husband and I have struggled to figure out how to Both be in the know as to how much money we have left in various categories. We are going to implement this this month! Thanks again!
It can be tough to stay on the same page. Great job taking a step in the right direction, Janelle. Let me know how it works for you. :)
Love this idea!! I’ll be honest, sometimes money feels so tight but something comes up that feels necessary, but didn’t fit in the budget, that we spend it anyway. My two biggest problem areas are probably the same though. I’m going to mount a chalkboard next to my meal planning clipboard in my kitchen so I can keep that running tally!
Nichole, there could be a couple of different things that are going on. Your budget might actually be too tight, and in that case you might want to look for some ways to earn a little extra on the side. It might also help to zero in on whether your grocery budget is realistic or if it could be reduced. The most important thing is to commit to living within your means and to not falling back on debt no matter what.
What a great idea! Seventeen things happen between the store and getting home with the groceries. Perhaps I will try this…
This is a small yet impactful idea. I keep a white board in my home office full of other things I am tracking (credit card bonuses/cash back in certain categories) and this makes a lot of sense.