Spending more than you make, or living beyond your means, can wreak havoc on your finances. If you often find yourself in this position, it’s time to take control of your spending.
Here are five ways you can stop spending more than you make and start living within your means:
Spend less money
Have you ever gotten to the end of the month or pay period and asked yourself, “Where did all my money go?” It’s very easy to get to this point if you don’t track your spending.
Luckily, figuring out where your money is going each month is pretty simple, especially if you access your bank accounts online. Go down the list of debits and add up how much you spend on trips to the grocery store, gas, dining out, bills, and other expenses. This can be an eye-opening experience and a good way to spend less money overall. Shopping sales and using coupons also go a long way in saving money.
Live by your budget
If you don’t have a budget, now’s the time to make one. Once you track your expenses, start allocating certain amounts to your monthly expenses.
Making a budget is the easy part, but sticking to it can be difficult. Try using a cash-only basis for your gas and food, or set up your bills to be paid automatically online to avoid costly and unnecessary late fees.
Make more money
If you’ve cut expenses to just the bare essentials and are still struggling, one way to stop spending more than you earn is to increase the amount of money you earn. Of course it’s easier said than done, but it is possible.
Pick up a part-time job on the weekends, ask your boss for a raise, work overtime if possible, or brush up your resume and apply for jobs that make a little more money. Look for things you can do around the house too; for example, offering childcare during the day if you’re a stay at home parent can bring in more income.
Remove spending temptation
If you routinely spend more than you earn because the temptation got the best of you, remove the temptation to overspend entirely. This could include shopping with a list and using cash only, deleting saved credit card information from your favourite online sites, or leaving your debit and credit cards at home when you go out.
Pay down your debt
Take a moment to add up how much money you pay each month towards debt. If you have a number of credit cards and loans, chances are this amount is pretty high. Think of everything you could do if you didn’t have those payments! Make a plan to pay down your debt to free yourself from high interest monthly payments. Even putting just $5 or $10 extra a month on top of your minimum payment will significantly cut down the amount of time it takes to pay off your debt. You’ll also save on interest.
If you’re caught in the cycle of spending more than you make, these tips can help you get back on track.