One of the biggest causes of marital strife is finances. So many couples who end up either in counseling or divorce court say financial issues caused excessive stress in the relationship, taking it to the breaking point.
Financial troubles can impact your personal happiness and health as well. Stress over money issues may lead you to work long hours of overtime to try to keep up, reducing your time with your family as well as your ability to get proper rest. Constant worry takes a toll on the body, too, and can lower the immune system’s resistance to disease.
If you find yourself spending sleepless nights worrying over money, or if you are fighting with your spouse over excessive debt or your long hours at the office, try these simple tricks to cut back on your spending and free you from debt’s evil clenches:
1. Change Your Spending Habits
Before you can change how you spend money, you must first realize why you spend it. Keep a spending log – even if only for a week. Write down every penny you spend. Then go back and examine your purchases, and try to associate why you made the purchases and how you felt making them with the items you bought.
You may find out you are spending a lot of unnecessary money on what amounts to worthless items that may bring you short term pleasure, but no real lasting benefits. Everyone buys things they do not need to satisfy emotions – that is why so many people need moving companies denver moving storage units for all of their belongings. We tend to accumulate a lot of personal possessions that we just do not need. Recognize where you are spending for purely emotional issues and make a conscious effort to stop buying items you do not really need or want.
2. Eliminate Your Credit Cards
Credit cards make it far too easy to spend money without really thinking about it. Suddenly you have tallied up hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in high-interest debt without ever realizing it.
Keep a credit card for emergencies, but stow it where you cannot see it. Out of sight, out of mind. Refrain from grabbing it “just this once.” Make a commitment to use it only in the event of an emergency.
Examine your existing credit card debt and work towards eliminating it. Interest rates tend to be very high on credit cards, especially if you have missed a payment or two. Take every last penny you have available (from not making those unnecessary purchases anymore) and put it towards your credit cards.
3. Force Yourself to Save
If your paychecks are being deposited into your account automatically, talk with your employer’s finance or payroll department and have them automatically withdraw money each payday from your check and deposit it into a savings account. Even if you can only start by saving five dollars each payday, the savings will begin to add up after a while. Once you have eliminated some of your debts, such as credit card payments, you can up the amount that goes into your savings. It is far easier to have the money withdrawn up front and never see it than it is to remove it from your checking account yourself.
4. Pack a Lunch
So many people who are in debt say that even an extra $50 or $100 each month would be an enormous help. Many of those same people do not realize just how much money they spend each month on lunch, snacks, and coffee.
Examine your spending habits for food. If you buy a Starbuck’s coffee each morning for $5.00, then spend another $7.50 on lunch, and yet another $2.50 on an afternoon snack each day, that is $15.00 each day out of your pocket. Over the course of a month that adds up to around $300. Pack a sandwich, take a thermos of coffee from home, and put that $300 towards your credit card debt.
By taking stock of our spending habits and the emotions we have that lead to spending, we can eliminate a lot of unnecessary expenditures in our lives. That savings can be put towards getting us out of debt, which in turn relieves stress both at home and at work. We do not feel as pressured when we know we have some money in the bank, and we are happier when we do not have to work overtime just to make ends meet.
Even though it may take more effort in the beginning, by learning how to manage spending, and by saving money when you can, you can achieve a greater life balance because of it. You will find you experience much greater happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of your life when you are not struggling to get by.
Thanks to Student Scrooge for featuring this article in the Festival of Frugality, to The Coaching Commons for including this post in the The Chronicle of Coaching News of the Week, to Credit Withdrawal for publishing this article in the Carnival of Financial Goals, and to Everything Finance for inclusion in the Carnival of Everything Finance.