(Meredith) – One way a lot of people have coped with the pandemic is by buying things they don’t really need. If you’ve been overspending, here are some tips from Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, the host of the Money Confidential at Real Simple podcast, on how to keep your spending in check.
First, make it harder to spend money when you’re shopping online. Don’t keep your credit card number saved in your checkout preferences so that it’s so easy to buy something with just one click. If you have to go find your wallet or purse, dig out your credit card and manually type in the number, you may think twice about actually spending the money.
Second, use cash when you leave the house. Unlike credit cards, cash is restrictive – you can’t spend more money than you have on hand. So, if you’re trying to stay on a budget, or there are certain circumstances where you know you tend to splurge, that is an opportunity to try using cash only.
Third, keep a spending journal. Not only can you track where your money goes and how much you’re spending, but you can track what’s happening in those moments when you overspend. Is it a certain circumstance or situation? Is it a certain feeling, like when you’re happy, angry, tired or hungry? Just knowing when you get those feelings to overspend can help you identify ways that you can create better systems for managing those moments. For example, if you know that you tend to overspend when you’re excited and celebrating something, going out for a celebratory dinner is a cue to stick to a cash-only budget.
Fourth, automate your savings. Rather than just keeping all of your money in a checking account and then hoping that you can sometimes save whatever is left over, set up an automatic transfer to go from your checking account to your savings account when your paycheck gets deposited. When you don’t see the money sitting in your checking account, you’re less likely to think of it as money you have available to spend.
And finally, create visual reminders of your goals and the things you’re working toward. For example, keep a background on your phone of the house you want to buy. Or, print out a picture of the vacation destination that you want to visit and wrap it around your cash and credit card, so that every time you go to spend money, you’re reminded of whether this purchase is going to help you get closer to that vacation or push you further from it.
To hear more about financial planning, money fears, money goals and more, tune into the Money Confidential at Real Simple podcast, available everywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts.
Real Simple and the Money Confidential podcast are produced by the parent company of this news organization, The Meredith Corporation.