The following is a guest post from Frances at Frugal Fairhope.
Photo by Andres Rueda
We all know that we should cut up those credit cards and close the accounts. Who needs credit anyway when you pay as you go, right? Well, this doesn't work for everyone. Besides, maybe the credit cards are not the issue, but you are using your debit card for stuff that you really shouldn't be buying. You can cut those credit cards all day long but until you stop the spending, you are not going to reach your financial goals.
How do you stop the spending?
Some of us have self-control, while others not so much. You know who you are and you know what you are capable of spending on Saturday. You know those Saturdays when the weather is beautiful outside and you are "window shopping" with your girlfriends. Between lunch and the "great deals" at the stores, you can go through a couple hundred bucks.
Here are a few fun ideas to stop yourself from spending. No, we are not going to tell you to put your cards in the freezer; you need the room in your freezer for stockpiling.
1. Write down your financial goals and place them on the fridge or your bathroom mirror. This will be a constant reminder. Get creative, do a scrapbook page and place it in a magnet frame. You will be looking at this every day.
2. Attach your goals to your cards. Tape photos of your kids or your house with paid for written on the front of your card as a friendly reminder to put that card back into the wallet.
3. Piggy banks worked when we were kids, but not now. Are you saving up for a big purchase like a new computer or a piece of furniture? Each pay day buy gift cards from that store. You can buy the gift cards online and have them mailed to you. This keeps the money out of your account so you can save for that purchase.
4. Create a house rule; no one can spend over $150 without consulting the other person face to face (groceries not included). You both have to sit down and agree that this is something for the family. The house rule should be specifically $150 per day and not on one item (this tip is for the die hard stop the spending fanatic).
5. Leave the debit card at home or in the car when you are shopping. Use the envelope system and carry cash. Cash has a weird control over people, once you see it disappear out of that envelope and it will make you stop and think about what you are spending it on.
6. Create a "what to buy me" list. These are items like a new iPod, purse, or pocket notebook. Once you create this list and it keeps getting longer and longer, you might just find out that these are not things you need in your life. You may even find that you can live without these things.
7. Think about what it really costs you. We do this for our kids by giving them an allowance to save up for that new game system. The kids learn what it takes (more importantly how much work) to get that new toy. Do this for yourself. If you make $20 an hour, think about how many hours you have to work in order to get that blouse. Is it worth the work? Does your husband have to stay at the office a couple more hours to afford that new pair of shoes?
8. The Waiting Rule. This one is our favorite. We found out that because we have been doing this for years, we use this without even thinking about it. Create a house rule that all big purchases must be thought about for at least 30 days before the purchase.
9. Don't spend for two days. Don't spend any money for two days out of every week for six months. We don't mean sit at home so you are not using gas. Don't charge or use cash for two days out of every week.
Deal Seeking Mom here: What tactics have you used to curb your spending and meet your financial goals?
Frances holds a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Mobile. She has a keen interest and ability in keeping every penny she and her husband earn and enjoys helping others do the same, and she offers money saving coupons, tips, and tricks through her web site at www.frugalfairhope.com.