When you work hard and earn hard, it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while and spend your money on something that will make you happy. As exciting as this idea can be, though, habitual splurging can be ill advised, especially for the financially challenged. Here are a few helpful tips for those who are looking to save their money and resist the urge to spend it extravagantly.
1. Check your finances and “save” when you splurge
To know whether you can spoil yourself or not, do a financial checkup before splurging. Remind yourself what that money is for. Spending money is okay, but you shouldn’t splurge at the expense of paying essential bills such as electricity, water or rent. Not following this advice could lead to a domino effect resulting in credit card bills and loans.
I know it might sound like an oxymoron—how can you save while spending? Again, it’s okay to spend some money, but spending within your budget saves you from the guilt of overspending.
2. Plan ahead before you leave home
If you do plan to spend your money, make sure you don’t overspend by creating a list of the items you will need to purchase. You’re sure to save money when you only purchase those items on the list. This may be easier said than done, but it will definitely help you focus on the items you need rather than wandering around the stores purchasing things you really don’t.
Seeing your credit cards in your wallet while you’re out shopping might tempt you into using them for things you want to buy when you’re on a tight budget. So instead of having a nagging feeling everywhere you go, keep your credit cards hidden at home in a drawer and smile with the knowledge that you’re not going to pay a pricey credit card bill next month.
3. Invest in experiences
You don’t have to spend your money on acquiring material possessions. Instead, invest your money in experiences and memories that can last a lifetime, like a fun family vacation or a day trip with your friends. You can also take advantage of rewards points from your credit cards and redeem them for merchandise, gift cards or travel for free! Truly, the happiness and enjoyment you gain from a vacation or day off can last a long time, especially if it’s a day spent on relaxation or with your loved ones.
4. Spend on others or your future self
When you spend money on yourself, you might feel guilty later. But if you spend your money on other people, a kind of tremendous emotional reward overwhelms you. You don’t have to buy them a pricey gift, though. Something as simple as taking someone out to lunch or buying them a small gift they’d never get for themselves can help you feel happy and make an instant connection with them. Not only do you improve your social capital, but they also might return the favor some day.
If you have an important event coming up, why not spend a little on things you need for that event? Glam up your appearance and buy that dress for your friend’s wedding next month, or that awesome shirt for your work’s casual party next week. Make sure it’s of high quality so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
There’s absolutely nothing like standing out from the American population and being frugal instead of spending money freely. Penny-pinch when your budget is tight. For food, this doesn’t mean buying low-quality items. You can save money by cooking at home instead of eating out. You can also start growing food in your backyard garden, if possible. Use public transportation whenever possible to reduce your cost for everyday travel. If you’re planning to buy a car, avoid dumping all your money on a luxury car—they can be expensive to buy, insure and maintain. It also helps to do some research to see what you should pay for an item before you buy it. You may find it cheaper somewhere else instead of buying it at the first store you visit or the first time you see it.
Sometimes it’s hard to restrain yourself from spending. However, consider it a test of your financial discipline when it comes to your personal finances. Avoid overindulgence on your wants and remember your needs before you regret spending your money.
The five tips above are sure ways to help you save some money, especially when you’re on a tight budget but want to spend on something anyway. It doesn’t hurt to spend your money on something that makes you happy. But also remember that the best investments you can make are on things you know you will use day to day. Always assess your personal needs and attitudes toward items that you may buy, and decide how to manage your finances and spending in a manner that best suits your budget and needs.