This list is comprised of helpful information that I have picked up from a variety of finance, life and retirement experts. They all say very similar things and I have implemented many of them into my life with overwhelming success and I am going to tell you how you can do it too.
1. You really have to want it. You can’t do it because everyone else is doing it. You have to make the conscious decision to make a huge change and actually stick with it. If not, then you WILL continue to be broke. You cannot make excuses for things throughout this process. I used to say “well we needed to buy a new rug” or “we need a new bed spread since people are staying the night”. These things don’t matter and you can’t lie to yourself and say that they do.
2. If applicable, you need to make sure your spouse is on board. Money problems are statistically the NUMBER 1 reason people get divorced, so don’t be an idiot. Better yet, don’t let thembe an idiot. Sit down and discuss this together or with a third party expert, if necessary. This discussion should speak to your financial goals as a couple: how much debt do you have, how much will you save, and setting a budget you can both live with.
3. Since you have already admitted that you have a spending problem, pat yourself on the back. You are light years ahead of most of the people in the world. This next step is going to be the worst, by far! Go through EVERY SINGLE transaction on your debit and credit cards. This step forces you to relive every stupid purchase you have made over the past month, or in my case, the past YEAR. Yes, I had this paralyzing intensity come over me that wouldn’t allow me to not check a year’s worth of debit transactions. Just grab a box of cheeze-its and cry it out. Seriously. Just. Cry. You can download your purchase history through your creditor’s website. Export the document to Excel if you want to get fancy and really dive deep into the transactions that will ultimately result in the biggest finger pointing discussion you’ve ever had.
4. Establish a budget and STICK TO IT. I have done it too. You set up a budget and then just use it as a guideline. STOP, just stop it. If that’s what you’re planning to do, then you are not ready. Your emotional maturity is not high enough for this. You absolutely have to follow the budget. Otherwise, you will end up in the exact same boat you’re in now.
5. Sit down at the end of each week and review your budget. See where you can maybe make your line items more precise, or where you can make additional cuts. This is important. It’s always the small things we make exceptions for, never the big ones. Little things like coffee or a donut don’t hurt us right now, but the do in the long run (they hurt our hips, too, ladies!). Small, daily changes are where you will see success, both in your personal finances, as well as life in general. One day without brushing your teeth won’t make them fall out, but if you repeat that habit then you will lose all your teeth. Am I making sense? Teeth=money.
6. Take out cash. If you enjoy swiping your credit or debit card, then go get cash from the bank and use it as an allowance so you can physically see what’s left. I hate letting go of my cash and I make more affordable decisions because of it. I don’t make any exceptions. If you really need extra help, put the money in an envelope for each thing you intend to spend it on. One envelope has grocery money for the week and another has your kids’ school lunch allowances, etc. If you don’t spend the money in an envelope by the end of the week then put it back in savings or make a plan for what to do with it. Don’t just go wasting it.
7. Learn how to say no to people who try to get you to go out all the time. Instead, invite them over. I have found that when I let people know we are sticking to our budget they are quick to congratulate us for taking that on. People can bring a dish to your house or you can cook for them. You can connect with them in an intimate setting and really get to know people the way we are supposed to, not just virtually.
I use the term “waste money” loosely. If something brings you joy, then I don’t consider is a waste of money. A waste of money is buying groceries and then letting them go bad in the fridge. Am I right? I know, we’ve all done it, and I continue to do it each week…nobody’s perfect. But if having a Starbucks a couple times a week brings you joy like it does for me, then by all means, drink up, but make sure you are adding that expense to your budget.
Let us know on social media what methods you have used to help save money using the hashtag #MillRevMoney.
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