If I watch, really, really watch, I'll be able to pay off my credit card bills within a year. Sound familiar? It's a promise many of us make but few keep. No matter how much we try, we can't stop spending. It's a cycle that catches the best of us. In trying to save we end up spending. How can we stop it? By eliminating the temptations.
Just this week I received a coupon from my favorite catalog offering $10 off my purchase, no minimum required. I could order something for $10 and get it for free! What is the reality of that? Most likely I'll spend more than $10, and the catalog knows that. It pained me, but I threw the coupon away.
Speaking of that catalog; I threw it away too without even opening it. Too many times I have paged through a catalog with the intention of "just looking." That ends up being a costly perusal. Inevitably, there is something on sale that I can't refuse in those pages.
The best money saving action I've taken is to sort the mail on my way in the house. Anything that is a temptation to spend goes in the trash can and never sees the inside of my house. I might have missed some sales, but when I don't even know what it is, I won't want it to begin with.
Catalogs aren't the only place that tempt me with sales. A Saturday trip with my mother is often costly. I go with her to the stores for "something to do" or just to spend time with her, intending on purchasing nothing. Yet, the two for the price of one sales catch me every time. Again, it's a great deal to buy two Yankee candles for the price of one, but if I hadn't gone shopping in the first place I would be $22 richer and I doubt I'd feel lacking for a candle.
Since I'm not opening my mail or going to stores, I had some free time to invent a money saving game. I bet myself how long I could go without buying anything. Gas and basic groceries were my only exceptions. I lasted ten days which was impressive. I buckled when I needed to buy a tube of glue.
For that week and a half my bankbook was much easier to balance (no withdrawals or purchases to record), and it was happily full. I really noticed a difference without that here and there spending. Besides that, it made me think a bit more before buying something, and often after some thought I realized that I could do without it. Best of all, I had more time in my week without the many trips to one store or another.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at http://users.rcn.com/wesavedamutt/Writer
You can either learn to live within your means on your own, or learn in bankruptcy. The former is always better.
You need a budget and something to keep a list on. List everything you want to buy that isn't in the budget. Each week, review the list and add whatever you choose that fits in the budget. At first, you'll feel deprived or worthless.
Once you see how many things on the list you didn't need or really want, it gets easier. You will feel better when you realize you weren't suckered by a snazzy ad campaign.
It is far better to learn to do this yourself, than have a court tell you what you can spend.
p.s. Those "credit counsellors" that say they'll get you pennies on the dollar for your credit card debt will actually ruin your credit. Your creditors think of these programs as a Chapter 13 (bankruptcy) anyway.
When ever I find something that I just think I have to have, I think about how many hours I have to work to earn the money to buy it. I can usually talk myself out of a foolish purchase. But, if I still think I really, really have to have it, I go home and think on it for a few days. In a few days I almost always forget about what it was that I really, really thought that I needed. And, if I haven't forgotten about it, I usually realize that I don't need it. Sure, I may still want it, but do I really need it? I have decided that if it is going to require dusting, then I definately don't need it or want it!!
We are in a dangerous era of finding happiness through eating and buying! I too am trying to slow the spending!
DON'T FORGET to check your credit card statements....they do sometimes over charge or mischarge! And pay cash as much as possible! I read recently, "if you are in debt, sell! Sell so much your children worry they are next!".
Good Luck to all the others trying to take control of their finances!
My husband and I are retired, so we live on a limited income. We only have one credit card which we pay off in full every month so there are no intrest charges. We do keep a budget and are pretty good at sticking to it. My husband is more of a spender than I am, but he has improved 95 %. I know what you mean about all the catalogs that come in the mail !!! They can be a real temptation. Avon is my weakness, but I rarely order anything frivilous. ( mostly make up and at Christmas stocking stuffers for the grandkids) LOL!! I am proud to say we do really well at living within our means. We do tithe and give over and above for special things like the building fund or helping a family in need. I believe God blesses us because of that . We always seem to have what we need when we need it, and that's what counts !!!
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