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This is a guide about avoiding unnecessary purchases. When out shopping we are often tempted to buy something not on our list.
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Why is it, that no matter how much money I have, I spend it all? I get a disability check once a month, enough to get by on, but I spend too much every month. No matter whether it is a bank card or cash, if I have it I will spend it.
Yesterday I had to return some food at the grocery store so that I would have enough money for my rent check to be cashed. I spend for a week or two, and then seem to hang suspended, counting the days until my next check. Can anyone else relate to this? What suggestions can you offer?
Derryl from Ontario
Perhaps you could write down all of your expenses for each month. Budget a certain amount for groceries, entertainment, etc and try not to go over those amounts. You could also try putting the money in sealed envelopes; one for each week of the month, label them, and put those aside. I used to work a job that paid once a month. I never could make the money last all month, so I know how hard it is. Good luck!
I know I'm going to sound like a mom, because that's what I am.
I'm on disability, too, as is hubby. We were juggling finances and living paycheck-to-paycheck even before the drunk driver accident that left me almost totally blind, somewhat lacking in stamina, and with what my mobility specialist called "balance issues."
Hubby spent a couple of years trying to maintain our former (not luxurious) lifestyle with credit and without financial help from me. His efforts made life more comfortable in the "short run," but eventually the credit accounts got maxed out. We had to cut back, drastically and quickly.
When we went over limit once too many times and my credit card company threatened to raise my rate, we went cold turkey and learned to live without that particular credit card. I can only pay a couple of dollars over the minimum, but I'm finally at the point where that's not such a struggle.
We cut back on our satellite TV package until my provider offered a deal that enabled us to restore the channels we so sorely missed at the same price as without them. Being a bit of a tightwad, I only allowed hubby one new DVD purchase a month, maximum, lol! I also argued him into going with store brands and generics... they're as good as name brands, without the extra cost. I guess you could compare it to Lee or Levi jeans, or good used jeans bought at Goodwill, compared to Jordasche jeans bought at the mall or Macy's. Same function, but what a difference in price!
We also learned to do most of our shopping at the local discount grocery instead of the more expensive chain store. We even learned to economize on dog items: when I learned our former dog food provider could provide their fave food for less - with every 13th bag free - we gladly moved our business away from the national chain. It helps us and supports a local small business. Our vet doesn't mind writing a prescription we can fill at our local drug store for a fourth the price at the vet's.
s has already been suggested, write up a basic monthly budget to track basic expenses. I'm not an expert, but managed to create a simple MS Excel spreadsheet. I included columns for income sources, expenses, and amounts for each, as well as the last date each bill was paid and by what method. I also included amounts for food (groceries and eating out,) insurance, household needs, and vehicle upkeep. I then (with some hints from the help file) created the formulas that totaled each column and included the amount left over afterward, whether plus or minus.
took some doing and a bit of thought, but this gave me an idea where my money was going. I also try to pay what I can with checks or electronically. That's another way I can track and control spending.
If you've done everything you can and are still coming up short, never be too proud to ask for help. Hubby won't go the credit counseling route, but I'm sure they can be a help. Make sure any you go to is accredited, though. If food is a problem, visit food pantries as often as necessary. They don't provide much meat, but what they can give can really take a burden off your grocery budget.
Last but not least, stay away from payday loans like the plague! They're a vicious and counter-productive tool. Only timely financial windfalls enabled us to break the cycle. Now that we're finally on more stable financial footing, I don't intend ever to go back to that method of making ends meet. Sorry for being so long-winded. I hope something I've said helps!
Bottom line for *some* of us is that it's a compulsion/impulsivity issue. That requires counseling, re-learning behaviors, avoiding triggers and having a strong accountability system. If Shopaholics offers that, then it might be a good idea if you don't have a close friend/family member you trust to tell you, "don't do it."
Hubby and I also went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program, and it has been a real help. Built-in accountability and learning ways to win with money over a few months and going to weekly sessions makes it kind of like a "Stuff Addicts" meeting. =)