Good morning Dinks. I know I’ve said it a thousand times over the years we’ve been friends, but today I am going to admit it again…I used to be broke. Less than five years ago after the market crash I was completely broke, jobless and hitting rock bottom in my personal life. Although my financial situation and mental health have greatly improved over the last few years a lot of my personal habits have not.
Even though I now have a great job that I love, a stable income with a pay check every two weeks and my relationship has never been stronger, I still kept some of my old financial habits. My financial habits haven’t changed too much now that my money is back on track because I am absolutely terrified of being broke again. The mental and emotional relief of having the freedom to spend money if I want to without the guilt of knowing that I can’t afford it is relieving. Being so broke that I couldn’t pay rent and had to eat white rice and soy sauce for days at a time was one of the darkest periods of my life and I am not sure if I could survive it again.
That’s why I didn’t fall back into old habits of overspending and not managing my money. Now I know every single dollar that comes into and goes out of my account. I check my bank account throughout the day to make sure my money is still there and review all transactions that went through the account. If I see a transaction that I don’t recognize I immediately call my boyfriend Nick to see if he made a purchase. I know it’s crazy but I’d rather have crazy financial habits than bad ones.
Tips to avoid overspending, impulse spending and help you live on a budget:
Don’t buy ice cream. Splurging on Ben & Jerry’s is an unnecessary purchase and it also leads to overspending. Ice cream is so good and so addictive it will only make you want more. At $5 a cone I think we can all agree that ice cream should be avoided.
Avoid ATM fees. I know that I am a former bank employee and I should not be knocking them but honestly $3 to use another bank’s ATM is absolutely ridiculous. If you are a member of my bank you will be charged $3 by the other bank’s ATM and an additional $2 by your own bank to take out money. I just can’t justify paying $5 in bank fees to withdraw $20 cash.
Always pay for the bus with change. I rarely have cash in my wallet because it leads to spending. I am personally more likely to spend cash over swiping my debit card. For this reason I always spend the change in my wallet and if I don’t have enough change for what I want to buy I just won’t buy it. Why? Because breaking dollar bills leads to spending. If you take out $20 for the week and you spend it carelessly you will hit up the ATM again and that’s unnecessary spending. Make your $20 a week last and spend it wisely.
Photo by DanMoyle