Who else goes into a spending free fall during the summer? Even with the pandemic, there was something about the warm weather that made me want to spend money.
My Achilles’ heel was clothes and skin care (since I couldn’t travel or have drinks on a patio, I overcompensated in other areas). But now, it’s back to reality with routine, schedules and balance.
So, how do we all get our spending back on track? Here are three simple steps to getting things under control this fall.
Step One: Survey The Damage
Did you overspend this summer? If you did, it’s time to survey the damage.
Go through your credit card statements and bank account(s). You have your fixed expenses (costs that never change – i.e. rent, mortgage, car payment, utilities) and your variable expenses (costs that change – i.e. clothes, groceries, skin care, etc.).
The variable expenses are what you want to keep an eye on. Comb through them and see if you notice any trends. What do you spend your money on?
If you want to go old school, print off your statements and highlight the trends (yellow for clothes, green for takeout… you get the idea). Once you have a visual of your spending habits, it’s time to make a budget!
Step Two: Build Your Budget
Once you’ve faced the reality of your spending habits, it’s time to make a game plan.
Your budget allows you to get a handle of on overspending. Now more than ever, you need a plan for your money.
There are lots of ways to budget. For budgeting templates, check out some samples here, here and here (this last one is from my favourite personal finance blog!).
Step Three: Find Motivation
It’s good to track your spending and make a budget, but how do you stay motivated to not overspend on things you don’t need?
This isn’t a question with a simple answer. Be kind to yourself and take a breath – everything is extra hard right now. You’re taking the first step in getting your spending under control.
If you can, set up a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) that automatically withdraws money from your checking account and take the guess work out of the equation. You’ll love seeing that untouchable balance grow.
Most importantly: invest in yourself and reap the benefits.
Last modified: October 1, 2020