If you lost control of your finances this summer, you aren’t alone. After the year we had in 2020, many of us felt like letting loose and living life to its fullest. After all, the pandemic showed us just how short life can be.
But as you tally up your finances and get ready for the upcoming holidays, you might find that you spent too much this summer.
You’ve taken the first step, admitting there’s a problem, and now it’s time for the solutions.
Stop Impulse Buying
Impulse buys can throw any budget out the window. Now that we can go into stores more often, it’s much easier to buy items not on our list or in our budget.
Instead, give yourself a 48 – 72 hour window. Step away from the purchase and give it time. Chances are you’ll forget about it and will save the money. If it’s still on your mind and you want it, figure out how to fit it into your budget without using a credit card.
Use Credit Cards Intelligently
Credit cards should not be an extension of your credit. If you charge items because you don’t have the cash, you’re using them wrong.
The only time you should use a credit card is when you know you’ll get rewarded (cashback, gift cards, etc.) AND you can pay the balance in full. Sometimes using a credit card for a large purchase makes sense too if you need the extended warranty or price protection your credit card provides.
No matter why you charge items, though, always make more than the minimum payment, and if you can, pay the balance in full.
Track Every Dollar Spent
It seems tedious, but knowing where you spend your money is empowering. Tracking your money spent can be as simple as downloading a free app like Mint and letting it automatically track your expenses.
The key is that you see your spending patterns. Where are you overspending? Where can you cut back? You may not realize how much your coffee shop habit adds up or how much money you spend on your Target runs.
Create a Travel Account
If traveling sets you over your budget for the summer, plan for next year. Figure out how much money you’ll need for your travels whether you take big vacations or several small weekend trips. Next, divide the total by 12 months or however many months are in between now and then.
Set aside the money to cover your travel expenses each month. For example, if you need $2,000 to travel next year, put away $167 a month starting now and you’ll have the funds and not put yourself over budget.
If you’re having a hard time bouncing back from overspending this summer like the Creditaid credit counselors help.
We’ll walk you through your spending, help you figure out how to pick up the pieces, and set up a budget moving forward so it doesn’t happen again! Contact us today for your free assessment.