For some people, financial struggles are due to not bringing in enough money. For many others, though, the problem comes from not spending money wisely or from spending more money than they make. According to Time, nearly 73% of Americans die in debt. In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 ways that you can start better spending the money you earn in order to help you reach your financial goals.
1. Track Your Finances
Before you can start figuring out how to spend money more wisely, you first need to understand where your money is going. Make a budget and track both your income and your expenses. Once you know where your money is going, you can start looking for opportunities where it could be better spent.
2. Think About the Long-Term Benefits and Drawbacks of Purchases
Far too many purchases are impulse decisions. While this is fine when it’s a $1 chocolate bar at the supermarket, it becomes a problem for larger purchases. Before you buy something, think about how it will affect you in the future. How long is it going to last? Is it going to put you in debt? Is the value you will get out of it over its lifetime worth the cost? These are questions you can use to determine if something is really worth buying.
3. Only Put Money on Your Credit Card if You Can Afford to Pay it off Each Month
Credit cards aren’t inherently a hindrance on your finances. After all, they are convenient and many cards offer cash back on your purchases. However, you should only spend money on your credit card if you are able to fully pay it off at the end of the month. If you pay off your credit card balance each month, you won’t incur any interest charges and it will essentially be the same as paying cash. If you don’t pay off your balance each month, though, the interest accrued can quickly spiral out of control.
4. Stop Trying to Impress Other People
The average person spends far too much money merely trying to maintain an image. From fancy cars to brand-name clothing, much of what we buy has more to do with impressing others than it does to do with purchasing something that we actually want and enjoy. However, “Keeping Up With the Joneses” is an expensive and unnecessary pursuit. Buy the things that you yourself enjoy and don’t fall prey to the feeling that you have to spend money in order to impress other people.
5. Figure out What Habits Drain Your Budget
After you start tracking your finances, you can begin looking for habits that may be draining your budget. These habits could include expensive hobbies, eating out too much, spending too much money on clothing, or any number of other financial drains. Once you figure out which habits are eating up large portions of your income, you can then evaluate whether or not these habits are really necessary.
6. Learn to Value Savings Over Products
Some people are naturally good at saving money and draw enjoyment from growing their wealth. For others, money is something that is spent the moment it reaches their hands, and anything else feels like a wasted opportunity. If you find yourself in the second camp, try to adopt a mentality that values savings over products. In the end, money invested or money saved will almost always benefit your life more than money spent on products that will wear out or become uninteresting in little time at all.
7. Start Investing Early
Spending your money wisely isn’t just about avoiding unnecessary purchases – it also requires you to take the money that you save and put it towards things that will help you reach your financial goals. With that in mind, there’s no such thing as starting investing too early or investing too little. No matter how young (or old) that you are or how little money you have to invest, putting your money into quality companies that will grow in value as time goes on is always a wise use of your income. Need a little extra guidence when it comes to spending money wisely? I’ve created a valuable 14 Day Financial Challenge that will help you get your finances on track. Phil Town is an investment advisor, hedge fund manager, 3x NY Times Best-Selling Author, ex-Grand Canyon river guide, and former Lieutenant in the US Army Special Forces. He and his wife, Melissa, share a passion for horses, polo, and eventing. Phil’s goal is to help you learn how to invest and achieve financial independence. Summary Article Name Spending Money Wisely: 7 Ways to Save More & Spend Less Description Save more than pennies with these 7 ways of spending money wisely Author Phil Town Publisher Name Rule #1 Investing Publisher Logo Date:
October 21, 2022 Category: News; Education; Columbus SEG News You don’t have to be a personal finance expert to be good with money. Anyone can take steps to develop good money habits and achieve greater financial flexibility and freedom! It all starts with understanding how to spend money wisely and how to manage your money effectively.
What Does it Mean to Spend and Manage Your Money Wisely?
Spending wisely is more than just keeping track of your bills and having a good credit report. Spending your money wisely is a way of life! Spending less than your income while continuing to pay your bills on time and in full allows you to save for future needs. Aligning your spending habits with what matters most to you will help you reach your biggest money goals.
Helpful Tips for You
Are you ready to get started on your journey to saving money and spending money wisely? Here are some helpful tips to consider:
- Track your spending—every dollar!
Before you can manage your money wisely, you need to understand where your money goes each month. That’s why tracking your spending is so important! Save your receipts and write each purchase in a notebook. You can also use a digital tool like
Money Management to track and categorize your spending. Money Management will give you a very clear picture of your spending habits, which you can use to create an accurate
- Look for expenses to adjust, reduce or eliminate
As you evaluate your spending habits, identify room for change. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- Do your purchasing habits match your priorities and financial goals?
- Which categories could you trim to save more money?
- Track your spending—every dollar!
You can save money by listing your expenses in order of importance from «must-haves» like living expenses to «nice-to-haves» like new shoes and clothes.
- Give your money a purpose
After you pay bills, if you don’t have specific goals for your leftover income, you might end up spending the funds you have leftover at the end of the month rather than saving them. But by giving your money a dedicated purpose, you can use it to help you live the life you want to live!What goals do you have for your money? It could be boosting your emergency fund, upgrading your car, paying for a child’s education, taking a dream vacation or even donating to the causes you care about.Once you have enough money saved to start putting it towards certain goals, open separate savings accounts and name them for each goal. These savings accounts will help you establish a plan for your extra money, including any additional income you receive through raises, bonuses or your tax refund.
- Stay flexible
Learning to develop a financially savvy plan to spend and manage money wisely takes practice. When you’re first getting started, you’ll probably need to adjust your budget and spending habits so that you can meet your goals. Stay flexible and try to make money management part of your daily routine—it’s worth it!
For more tips on the road to financial independence and how to spend money wisely, view our Spend & Mange Wisely Brochure
How We at Wright-Patt Credit Union Can Help
At WPCU, we want to help you succeed in your journey to spending wisely and give you the tools you need to spend money wisely. We have a variety of helpful tools to make the process easier, including
budgeting worksheets and
spending tips and
interactive learning modules for spending and managing your money. They say that money makes the world go round, but that it can’t buy happiness. The love of it is “the root of all evil,” and yet we need it to function and thrive in society. Money is coveted by pretty much everyone, but most people are uncomfortable talking about it. If you think about it, there are really only five things you can do with money: earn it, spend it, save it, invest it, and give it. But when it comes to actually doing those things, all sorts of questions arise! The following advice will help you to begin thinking through these issues: 1. Earning Most people have to earn an income some way or another. Whichever way you earn your money, a key decision in this area is determining how much money you actually need to survive. Many people fall into the trap of working more than they need to simply because they can’t say no to the extra money. They put in overtime at work, thus depriving themselves, their family, their friends, their church, and their community of time they could spend investing in other types of capital, such as social and spiritual capital. Other people don’t work enough, thus depriving their family of the things they need and causing others to pick up the slack. The key is to find the balance so you are able to earn a comfortable living without falling prey to the pitfalls of either extreme. Ask God to guide you in this area. 2. Spending The first rule of spending is to always spend less than you earn. The minute you start spending more than you’re taking in, you incur what is called “negative margin” or “deficit.” Deficit is different from a loan in that deficit adds continually to your debt and are unable to pay it back. As you keep overspending each month, your debt just keeps growing and growing. Before long, you and your entire family will become a slave to it. The way to avoid debt and live within your means is to create a monthly budget with different categories for things like shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and so on. A financial planner can help you develop a budget that’s right for you. But simply creating a budget won’t solve your financial problems. You have to stick to it. Be disciplined. When the money is gone from a certain category, that’s it until next month. Don’t borrow against your future, because the future is always uncertain. If you’re already in debt, you’ll have to take this into consideration when you create your budget. A financial planner can help you work through your options. It seems like incurring some debt is inevitable today, especially when it comes to purchasing costly items such as vehicles or a home. But it’s not always necessary, particularly for items such as furniture, appliances, or electronic equipment. However, before you incur any debt of any size, spend time in prayer and evaluate the spiritual, economic, psychological, and personal ramifications of that decision. If you stick to doing things on a cash-only basis, you may have to wait a little longer to purchase what you want, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. 3. Saving The extra money you have left over at the end of each month after paying your living expenses, taxes, debt, and meeting your giving budget is called “savings” or “margin”. Your savings should always be planned and regular. Determine what percentage of your income you can save each month, and then divide that amount into short-term and long-term savings. Use the short-term savings for things like family vacations and acquiring smaller items, such as electronic equipment or new appliances. Long-term savings should be set aside for a new vehicle or other items that require a significant amount of funds. You should also set aside a contingency fund, usually three to six months of income, in the event that you temporarily lose your ability to earn income. While saving money is prudent and wise, there is a fine line between saving and hoarding. A good way to tell the difference is to ask yourself whether you’re putting your trust in your savings or in God. As your savings account grows, make sure your faith in God’s provision grows along with it! 4. Investing Investing your money wisely is crucial to getting the most return on your time and effort. After all, you’ve worked hard for your money. Isn’t it time it did some work for you? Investing is just like any other financial decision. First, you should pray and ask God how much he wants you to invest and where he wants you to put it. Any financial planner will tell you that your portfolio should contain a mix of low, medium, and high-risk investments. How much is allocated to each area depends on your risk tolerance and your financial goals. Areas to invest include government bonds, GICs, real estate, mutual funds, and individual stocks. We strongly urge you to consult with a financial planner prior to making any major decisions in this area. The last thing you want to do after earning your money is to watch it all drain away through a poor investment strategy. 5. Giving As with saving, your giving should always be planned and regular. Choose your charities wisely; do your research and find out where your money will go. It’s also okay to keep some money aside in a contingency fund for those “spur of the moment” donations. However, regular giving allows you to budget from month to month. It also enables you to take full advantage of the tax credits available, thus increasing your margin. You can use this extra money for additional giving, to defray living expenses, or to reduce your debt. Although tithing, or giving one tenth of your income, is a good place to start, it is by no means mandatory — and you definitely don’t have to limit yourself to this amount! Ask God where he would like you to direct your giving, and revisit the amount you give each year. Remember, all money is God’s money, and you are just the steward; don’t hold on to it too tightly when he is trying to teach you to live generously.
updated September 2019
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