We are a nation of consumers, for many of us it is extremely easy and enjoyable to shop and buy new items each and everyday. Unfortunately, many people and families live way beyond their means saving little or nothing and spending large amounts of money that total more than our income- usually subsidized with credit cards. Whether you are currently in debt or flirting with debt now is the time to consider cutting back on expenses.
Cutting back on expenses is perhaps the best way to avoid debt and it is also a great way to dig yourself out of debt if you already owe large amounts of money. Just like a food diet can be uncomfortable but necessary, cutting back on expenses follows in the same vein. Here are some tips to cut expenses and minimize debt.
Track All Your Monthly Expenses
In order to cut back on expenses, you should immediately keep track of everything you buy each and everyday. You will be amazed at the end of the month, to find out that you have probably spent hundreds of dollars on items that are unimportant and unnecessary.
Stop Impulse Shopping
If you find your weakness is impulse shopping (buying items on the spur of the moment, with very little thought), there are a few strategies that can minimize this practice. One strategy is to avoid shopping malls and certain types of stores that promote impulse shopping. While you will still have to shop, for instance, at your grocery store, which are perhaps the worst impulse offenders, one way to keep on a straight and narrow path is to create a shopping list and keep to it. A shopping list will ensure that when you go to the market for milk, you don’t come out spending $50 on food items that you didn’t need.
Carry a Limited Amount of Funds
If you are the type of person where money burns a hole in your pocket, make sure you only carry a limited amount of funds on you at any given time. Don’t carry your entire week’s salary everywhere you go, instead only carry $20 bucks for essentials.
Cancel Store Credit Cards
For many people that are flirting with debt, store credit cards (and credit cards in general) can be a major factor for spending. Having a store credit card for every store outlet in the mall is unnecessary and only leads to excessive, out of control spending. The next time a store employee offers you 10% off your purchase to fill out a store credit card application- politely say no.
Cancel Items and Subscriptions That You Don’t Use
Going back to keeping track of all your expenses, make sure you look at all the items you spend money on- whether it is your cable bill, phone bill, etc. Many of these items have many packages that they offer. Many times individuals buy the most expensive package with the most features, but rarely if ever use them. If this is the case, cancel or downgrade these subscriptions and only pay for items that you genuinely use each month.