Looking for some spending tips to help you avoid financial stress?
Did you know that the real cause of financial problems is spending too much money? It’s true! That’s why you need some spending tips if you want to avoid financial stress.
There are lots of people who make $30,000 per year, while some others make $100,000 per year, but they all have the same thing in common: they have financial problems.
The reason they all have financial problems is because they spend too much money.
These people live above their means so they never seem to have enough money no matter how much they earn.
For these people, earning more money isn’t going to solve their financial problems. The only way they can avoid money stress is to change their spending habits.
As long as you keep spending money the way you’ve always had, your financial situation isn’t going to change.
There’s a reason why many lottery winners end up broke within a few years. It’s because more money isn’t always the answer.
So if you’re ready to avoid financial stress, here are some tips that will help you to control your finances.
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THE BEST SPENDING TIPS TO AVOID FINANCIAL STRESS
1. SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN
Spend less than you earn is one of the most simple and logical thing you could ever hear, but it’s also one of the most difficult financial rule to follow.
You can’t avoid money stress as long as you spend more money than you earn, that’s why the first step to spending less than you earn is to understand your paycheck.
Understanding your paycheck means you know exactly how much you earn and how long it takes to earn that amount.
When you understand your paycheck, you know how much money you have committed from your paycheck and how much money you have left to spend on whatever you want.
The problem is, most people don’t understand how much of their income they have committed to pay for their expenses, so they keep spending money they they don’t have.
This is a major reason why people get into debt. It’s because they have to find the extra money from somewhere to cover their spending (hello overdraft fee!).
However, when you understand your paycheck and appreciate how hard it is to earn that paycheck, it becomes easier to curb your spending.
For instance, if you know you need to work ten hours to afford a pair of Nike shoes, those shoes may not look so appealing anymore.
Knowing that a pair of Nike shoes is going to cost you ten hours of work will make you rethink that purchase.
So the next time you want to spend your money on something, ask yourself:
- How many hours will I have to work to pay for this item?
- Is it really worth it (the number of hours you have to work to pay for the purchase)?
When I understood my paycheck and started asking these questions before making a purchase, I became more prudent and improved my spending habits.
If you haven’t been doing this, I want to encourage you to start asking these questions before you buy anything. See if this doesn’t change the way you spend money (or affect your buying decisions).
2. DON’T BUY IT IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
Except it isn’t!
If you’ve ever rationalized making a purchase, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to convince myself I could afford something that was clearly beyond my means.
I had to learn the hard way that buying something I couldn’t afford came with a price. Now I hardly ever consider buying anything I can’t afford.
For example, when those television ads pop up on my screen, I just keep it moving if it’s something I can’t afford or don’t need. I no longer waste my time looking at things I can’t afford. That’s how I avoid temptation.
However, it takes discipline to do this and that’s something many people lack.
In case you’re wondering how to know if you can afford something, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Can I pay cash for it (meaning you don’t have to go into debt to make the purchase).
- Will I need this money for something else in the future (for instance, spending money you need to pay a bill on a purchase).
- Should I spend this money now or save it for something else?
- Will spending this money cause some financial hardship?
By asking these four questions, you can tell whether or not you can afford to spend that money.
If you struggle with your spending, this is a good way to make spending decisions so you can avoid financial stress.
Far too many people spend their way into financial hardships because they don’t know what they can or can’t afford.
These people convince themselves they can find a way to make up any shortfall in their finances. But far too often, they are unable, so they end up in debt or plunge themselves into financial hardship.
So save yourself the heartache and take control of your spending so you don’t have to deal with financial stress.
3. SAY NO TO IMPULSE BUYING
This one is pretty straightforward.
Don’t buy anything unless you planned to buy it. This spending tip alone can save you a lot of money, and is also one of the easiest ways to prevent financial problems.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying low-priced items or high-priced items. If it isn’t in your budget, don’t buy it.
So many times I have ended up with stuff I had no intention of buying. This usually happens when I shop for groceries without a list or with a debit card.
Now I always try to go shopping with a list and carry cash because I am much more disciplined with my spending when I do this.
When you shop with cash and a list, you’re forced to stick to your list because you don’t have the means to pay for any unplanned purchase.
Like some of you know, willpower isn’t always enough to prevent you from making silly money mistakes, so one way to stop bad spending habits is to remove the temptation or make it harder to spend.
Something else you can do the next time you feel like buying something on impulse, is to stop and think through a number of questions like the ones below:
- Is this a planned purchase?
- Is this item the most important thing on my wish or shopping list?
- Can I afford it?
- Is this a responsible way to spend my hard-earned money?
I don’t know about you but that last question always forces me to stop and think.
If after answering these questions you still feel like making the purchase and you can afford it, then it’s probably okay to go ahead, as long as you’re being honest with yourself.
Impulse buying can wreak havoc on your budget or finances so you want to be real careful with this one.
4. DON’T BUY MORE HOUSE OR CAR THAN YOU NEED
Did you know that home and car purchases are two of the most common expenses that lead to debt and financial crisis?
When you decide to buy more house than you need, or spend a large percentage of your income on housing, you’re setting yourself up for financial stress.
Unfortunately, many people still believe that a home is always an asset so they jump into home ownership without doing a lot of thinking.
Before you purchase a home or car, you need to consider how those purchases will affect your financial life.
Even though you may be able to afford the payments at the time of purchase, you have to consider how things would look like if your financial situation changes.
For instance, what if you or your spouse loses your job? What if you have an unexpected pregnancy or health emergency? What if some other expenses come up or increase?
When you’re locked into a payment, you can’t change it whenever you like so you need to think carefully about these things.
So what if you already own a home or car that’s causing you some financial stress?
If this is your situation, the only solution is to find a way to get rid of these payments.
For example, you can sell the house and get a cheaper home, sell the car (or cars ) if it makes sense. You can also come up with a plan to pay them off as soon as possible.
Sometimes you have to make some really tough decisions if you’re strapped for cash and have no other way out.
So always remember: don’t buy more than you need. Don’t buy an eight-passenger vehicle when a smaller car will do. Same thing applies to buying or renting a home.
5. USE CASH MORE OFTEN THAN NOT
Not too long ago, people paid cash for their purchases. If you didn’t have the cash to pay for something you wanted, you waited until you could afford it.
But as credit cards and personal loans became more accessible, we started borrowing more money. Today, you can borrow money for pretty much everything. As a result, we started buying things we probably wouldn’t have if we had to pay cash for them.
This easy access to borrowing has caused a lot of pain and destroyed many families. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But all hope isn’t lost as long as you’re willing to follow this spending tip to avoid financial stress.
While it isn’t possible to pay cash for everything, getting into the habit of paying cash for most things will help you to manage your finances and improve your financial situation.
So what kind of things should you purchase with cash?
Start with things that don’t appreciate in value or consumables. That includes: food, groceries, clothes, toys, cars, electronics etc. It’s pretty much everything except maybe buying a home.
Yes, it’s possible to pay cash for all these things if you really wanted to. At first it might feel weird, but if you keep doing it, it’d become second nature in no time.
So put those plastics away and embrace cash.
The envelope system is a good way to get into the habit of using cash more often than not. You can read more about it here:
You may also find these nice cash envelopes very useful:
6. PLANNING YOUR SPENDING IS THE BEST SPENDING TIP TO AVOID FINANCIAL STRESS
Managing your finances isn’t really that complicated if you take the time to learn how to do it right. Having a spending plan or budget is the first step to controlling your finances.
When you have a spending plan, you can see at a glance how much money you have to spend on your living expenses, and how and where you want to spend it.
And all this starts with understanding your paycheck and knowing how much money you have available to spend.
With a spending plan, you can divide your expenses into different categories and allocate a percentage of your income to those categories. Which means when you run out of money for a particular category, you have to stop spending money unless you take some money from another category.
Knowing how to divide your income and how much to spend on each expense category is a skill that can be learned.
So if you’re not using a spending plan to manage your finances, I suggest you start using one so you can keep track of your finances and avoid financial stress.
Final thoughts on spending tips to avoid financial stress
Spending too much money is a major reason why people have financial problems.
Developing good spending habits is a great way to prevent financial crisis.
If you’re struggling financially, the six spending tips in this post will help you turn your financial life around if you commit to the process.
If you’re serious about getting ahead financially, start by changing your spending habits and hoepfully you’ll start to see some progress.
Which spending tip do you think you need the most to avoid financial stress?