What’s your biggest spending fear?
If you feel like your spending is out of control, there are steps that you can take to curb your spending. If you’re in debt because of your spending, it’s possible to get out. But what do you do when you feel like you can’t even face your fears? What do you do when you know your spending is out of control, but you feel like there’s nothing you can do to fix it?
The first step to taking control of your spending fear (or any fear, really) is facing your fear.
What bothers you the most about your spending?
Write down your biggest spending fear. Be honest with yourself.
I have a fear of missing out on the best deal. Even if I don’t need something, if it’s on sale, I stock up. By stock up, I mean that I have four family sized boxes of Pop-Tarts in my pantry. There’s no way that we can eat that many Pop-Tarts in the next month (and I don’t really want to eat that many!). Sometimes stocking up works in my favor (I currently have enough meat to last me through the month), but other times I end up with a pantry full of pasta, Pop-Tarts, or Oreos that we don’t need.
Brainstorm ideas about how to change
You know that you need to change your spending habits. What area would make the biggest impact? What can you do without? Could you slash your grocery budget? Stop dining out? Drive less or carpool to save on fuel?
There are some things that you need to spend money on, like food and housing. Even so, there may be ways to spend less on those areas. Also, there are some things that you don’t need, like new black boots when you have three pairs sitting in your closet. Think about each of these areas (things that you absolutely need and things that you just want). Think about what you could do to cut spending in each of those areas.
Envision your life of less
How will you do without some things in your life? I really struggle with this. I picture how I’ll use something else, and then reality hits and I realize that I didn’t plan nearly as well as I should have.
I’m currently doing a “spend zero” challenge. My pantry is more than stocked (even if it has ridiculous amounts of Pop-Tarts, cake mix, and canned corn), but I never realized how hard it is to use what I have and not just run out and buy more of something that I don’t have. I envisioned that this challenge would be easy and I would have no problem using everything in my pantry, but on the second day I realized that I didn’t even have chicken broth, a staple in many recipes that I was planning on making. I realized that I have enough pork in my freezer for 12 meals, but I only have enough chicken for two meals. I’ve had to tailor my monthly meal plan so that I can use what I have (canned corn and pork chops, anyone?) instead of rushing to the store for substitutes.
Face your fears head on
All the planning in the world can’t help you if you don’t “just do it!” You’ve thought about your fear, how to change, and even pictured ways that you could change and how it would impact your life. Now it’s time to take action.
The spend zero challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to face my spending fears. Ready or not, the month began and I needed to stop spending. Halfway through the month, I’ve only spent $53.10 on groceries (normally by this time I would’ve spent $400). I’m forced to use what I have and only make necessary purchases (sadly, Tim Horton’s and Dunkin Donuts don’t count as “necessary purchases”).
Facing your fear is never easy (even if you think it will be, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not). Planning can help you face your spending fear, but at some point, you need to just do it! Face your spending fear head on and stop spending mindlessly. You can do it!