Different people spend money on different things and have different habits and bad habits. Some use money to deal with emotions, others to fit in. Some use money out of boredom, while others don't think about the fact that a small amount of money suddenly becomes a big "Oh no, there goes the account again".
This is quite personal, and for some people hard to sit down and think about. Do you get a certain feeling from spending money? Or do you spend money when you get a certain feeling?
For some, it's about the thing or service they buy. Others buy clothes or tools to feel good, or to keep up with what everyone else has. It's also common to spend a lot of money on food and takeaways. It's the sum of all the little things that can make finances challenging.
Whatever it is that makes you spend more money than you have, try to put into words why you have the bad habits you have.
A great way to do this is to set up a budget. A budget gives you a clear picture of your income and expenses and makes it easier to see where you can save and where you need more. You can download our budget template here.
Is there anything in particular you want? Financial freedom? To be debt-free? A buffer account?
Having a concrete goal increases the chance that you will be able to change your financial habits. If your goal is to become debt-free, you may want to break that goal down into several sub-goals. That way, the project won't seem completely unattainable and you'll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate yourself along the way!
Credit card itching? Distract yourself. Take a walk outside. Take a walk around the neighbourhood or in the forest, if you have it nearby. The point is to postpone the action a little. Maybe you'll change your mind and remember that you'd rather reach your goal than buy something.
It is important to feel a sense of accomplishment and celebration when you break your pattern. It gives you good motivation to keep going. Give yourself a mental pat on the back and brag about yourself. Maybe you can treat yourself to something extra special when you reach a milestone?
Every time you choose to do something else in a situation where you would rather spend money, you are practising breaking the habit. The more times you choose not to spend money, the more empowered you feel, the easier it becomes.
Stress often causes us to spend more money than we need. Maybe it's a pressure to have what others have, or perhaps a stressful trip to the grocery store without a clear plan of what to buy for the week?
Find out what calms you down and takes away the stress. This could be exercise, gaming (preferably not gambling) or mindfulness, to name a few.
A cool head often manages to make better decisions for your wallet.
This article is part of the Financial advice category, a collection of articles covering topics related to personal finance, such as family, children, lifestyle, work, home and property, car and motor, cottage and leisure, life changes, saving and investing. Read more about Financial advice.