Stop Spending and Start Living: 3 Tips on Getting Your Finances Under Control

Photo by Irene Dávila on Unsplash

If you feel like your finances are a mess and it is completely overwhelming, then what do you do? How do you get your finances under control for good? Now might not be the time for a complicated or intricate plan. Perhaps what would be best is to get a hold of some simple, practical principles that you can apply to your situation right away, yes? Well that’s what I’m going to give to you in this article.

Money principle 1 – Track what you’re spending

This might seem a little anally retentive, but this tip will clarify your money world on a level you’ve never experienced before. And the tip is to write down every cent you make and every cent you spend. This is Money 101 subtitle How To Get My Finances Under Control. If you just make this tip something you do from now on, every day, it will lay the foundation for great things to come. What happens when you do this – and I know because I do it – is that the horrible foggy cloud of vagueness that’s been plaguing you starts to lift. You begin to see patterns in your spending as the simple act of writing down your expenses on paper or in a phone app makes the process of buying more conscious. You might even start to change your behavior naturally as tracking your expenses and income has an inbuilt accountability in it. 

Money principle 2 – Live within your means

If you do not have enough income to cover your costs – real or imagined – then you will be more likely to go into debt. So now we’ve got to get real about what it costs you to exist for a month. A spreadsheet comes in real handy when you’re serious about getting your finances in order. What you need to do is create a table that lists all your monthly expenses – rent, groceries, utilities, clothes, etc. Now you’re going to need 4 columns – one for each week of the month. When you’re tracked your spending for a certain week in your record keeping app or notebook, enter these numbers into your monthly spreadsheet. Then add a 5th column which totals up your spending for each expense category. Your monthly spreadsheet is gold as it will tell you if you are living within your means or not. And if you’re not, you can do 1 of 2 things – increase your income or cut your expenses. Or both. Did you see that, what we did there? We just got some more control over our own finances.

Money Principle 3 – Delaying purchases

It can be easy to get swept away in the high of buying new things – whether it be at a shop or online. But if you really want control over your finances, then the urge to splurge must be questioned. Ask yourself before every purchase, do I really need this? Do I already have something else I could use? What if I wait 24 hours before buying and then see if I still want it then? Asking these kinds of questions can save you from making unplanned purchases that can blow your budget and create bad juju in your spreadsheet. Sometimes we can fall into that old trap of trying to fill the spiritual void inside us with material objects. But it never works, and we just end up burying ourselves in houses full of crap that we don’t need. So be wary, and stop the crap-avalanche of useless stuff into your life as well as the wasted money that goes along with it. Being more conscious about what you spend is a gift to yourself as it will help you figure out what your true values are in life and what actually does make you happy from the inside out. 

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