Whether you live paycheck to paycheck, or are fortunate enough to enjoy some financial breathing room. Once a month, I challenge you to enjoy the "No Spend Weekend". It might not sound feasible, but believe me, it can be done and is financially rewarding.
Whether you go it alone or are married with or without kids, it's a great way to save some money and take control of your finances.
I recommend going to the beach or park, enjoying a free local museum or social event, or simply getting some projects done around the house. The process is simple, just don't spend any money from Friday to Monday. You and your loved ones can enjoy some personal time, experience some things you don't typically do, and, oh yea...save some money!
Throw away your useless May 2016 monthly budget and just start over. Seriously, 99% of us have not stuck completely to the plan, and that’s expected. But that doesn’t mean you should go and spend as you please, it just means it’s time to start over.
Reconstructing your budget around the middle of the month is a helpful way to stay in control of your money. By this time your bills are paid, mortgage/rent has been sent off, and you’re now dealing with necessities (gas, groceries etc.) and disposable income.
The key here is disposable income. Have you already spent most of it? Do you have some surplus you should be putting into a savings account? Can you maintain the month’s plan without adding extra onto a credit card? These are all things you should be going back over in the middle of the month that will help you stay in control. Because there’s two ways we can live with money:
You can control your money…or your money can control you.
savingNo matter how much we need to save, no matter how badly we want to break out of the paycheck to paycheck life, saving money is hard. It’s hard because we get an immediate reward for spending money. I give you $5 you give me a Mocha Latte.
Saving on the other hand forces us to delay receiving our reward. I give you $5 and in twenty years or so you give me $20 to enjoy in my old age.
Sometimes it helps if you can visualize the future. In 20 years I will spend my days walking in the woods and exploring new cities. I see myself spending my time with my grandchildren, going to the zoo, planting my garden. Visualization helps some but it’s still hard to save.
You can also make saving easier by planning things you enjoy that are free or cost very little. Maybe you can go visit a museum or a nearby town. Go for a bike ride or a Sunday afternoon drive. Look for local festivals. Maybe only take a few dollars with you on these short trips so you won’t be tempted to spend.
You can make saving automatic by having some amount debited from your paycheck or checking account each month or even each week. If you don’t see it, you won’t miss it.
All these things can make saving easier, but it will never be easy.
As a financial advisor, I often talk about being aware of where you are spending your money, because I believe awareness triggers restraint and restraint leads to better savings habits. While saving money is a good thing, buying something that is cheap is often expensive.
If you are planning a purchase look for value, don’t make a purchase just because an item is ‘cheap’. Mindful purchases that you have determined represents good value can bring years of joy and usefulness into your life.
Making a spur of the moment purchase because something seems like a deal often leads to regret.
Be frugal with your spending but never cheap.