A Dual: Spending battles

Raising kids, buying groceries, bills, anything on the planet (with some exceptions) requires funds! Sometimes lots of money. Careful planning and protecting your paycheck are so crucial. I learned this while working in the insurance industry that your ability to earn an income is your largest asset. This is NOT an article on financial planning, but keep reading because there may be a takeaway or two or three on how you might be able to curb your spending habits. As a wise high school economics teacher once told our class, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Everyone but me understood what she meant. And, after belaboring the statement for five solid minutes, yours truly understood, too.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. First, I’m okay at times restraining myself while at Target but other times, I get clumsy with my money and buy a share-size bag of peanut M&M’s, a bathing suit, and a pack of coffee drinks. What was I supposed to get? Milk, bananas, and Cheerios. Right. If what you just read sounds anything like you, cheer up. There is no known cure that I have discovered on my own but what you can do is bring in a checklist with you. Want to know the secret sauce to better handling your money when shopping?

STTL! (Code for Stick to the List)

What if the above scenario doesn’t apply to you? Do you have a checking account? What if you linked it to a savings account that automatically drafted a predetermined amount and deposited it there each week/month? Then you have more control of whether you leave it there to accrue interest or take it out to treat yourself in some way.

Now, let’s talk about the some other battles or challenges you may face when spending your money. To you married folks: having open, honest communication about whether the cash flow river runs high, somewhere in the middle, or is bone dry is one of many steps to understanding spending habits. I encourage you as well as the single population to keep receipts, balance a checkbook (or learn how to do so), and come up with quarterly savings goals. Why quarterly, you ask?

To me, a year seems like an eternity but if Aaron and I talk about getting a new privacy fence in 3 months, we can then calculate how much we need to save, and we stop buying the smallest of things like a coffee drink or even fruit-flavored Tic-Tacs from the gas station. Hard to do, but very worth it.

So, dear reader, go forth and fight the good fight in the dual against spending. Implement some of these strategies and you shall be victorious. If nothing else, STTL and don’t walk out of the store with a new bathing suit when the original goal was to get Cheerios.

Until we meet again.

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