Simplify Your Spending

posted by Andrea | 04/7/2011

Our less-than-perfect economy has created a frenzy of budget related questions. I’m not even a coupon or finance blog and I still get loads of questions about how I save more, spend less, simplify our spending, and stretch our small budget.

Now, I’m not a financial expert but I do know a thing or two about frugal living, budgeting, and getting something for nothing! I also LOVE talking about money management because I see how stressful people are when their finances are out of whack. Seriously, it’s nearly impossible to live a simple, organized life with loads of debt.

If you are looking to turn your financial condition around, here are five simple tips that might just help you to simplify your spending.

1. Create a Budget:

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just as long as you’re clear on the amount of money you can spend in each area of your life (food, home, utilities, automotive, entertainment, clothes, savings, medical, misc, etc.) You can even download my Free Budgeting Workbook to help you keep track of everything.

2. Use Credit Wisely:

I’m all for using credit cards as long as you pay them off {in full} at the end of each billing cycle. We charge everything to our credit card — it’s just easier that way — but we only buy things we could pay cash for.

3. Keep a Financial Journal:

Are you one of those people who hates budgets? Try creating a financial journal instead. Basically all you need is a pen and a notebook. Then, every day for an entire month, keep track of everything you buy, even if it is only 50 cents.

At the end of the month you can tally up all your expenses and see where you are overspending. Unlike a budget, a financial journal doesn’t restrict the amount of money you may spend; it simply shows you what you already spent. The idea is to see where you are overspending and then try to cut back. It’s not as ridged as a budget!!

4. Shop with a List:

Whether you’re at the mall, a thrift store, or the grocery store; prepare a list of the items you want to buy and ONLY buy what’s on your list.

5. Don’t Shop:

Ok, so this may seem overly obvious, but if you don’t go to the store {or to an on-line store} you probably won’t buy anything! So if you’re looking to simplify your spending, try simply NOT shopping for an entire week!

These are a few things that have worked for us. What are YOUR best tips to simplify your spending?

{top image credit}

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8 comments

  1. Cindy

    08/27/2010

    Thanks for the tips…we’re on the Dave Ramsey plan right now and SLOWLY getting out of debt. I really love your website and I try to stop by every day to see what new information you post. All of it is very helpful and has helped me to simplify and organize my life! Thanks!

  2. Pronk

    04/07/2011

    I simplified my spending by getting another bankaccount. Now I have 1 account for all my monthly bills and one for groceries. I dont have to worry about spending money that was intended for one of my monthly bills. Another thing that really simplified my spending was getting rid of the option to overdraw accounts. 0=really 0.

    I really love your website! I found it a few weeks ago and I visited it almost every day since! Youre doing a great job!

    Bye from Holland!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much! Glad you’re enjoying my blog!

    And it sounds like you have a great system for simplifying and organizing your finances. I know other people who have different bank accounts and put about $20 or $30 in the “extra” account every week. Then over the course of a year or two, that adds up to a nice chuck of change that they use for vacation, Christmas gifts, or a home renovation. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    [Reply]

  3. Rosie @ RosieBear

    04/07/2011

    I simplify my spending by using websites like Amazon Prime / Amazon Mom. I get great prices, FREE shipping and NO tax. In the State of California, that adds up to almost a 10% savings on just the tax! Plus, I never run out of anything which means I don’t go to the local store {with high prices} in case of an emergency.
    - Rosie

    [Reply]

  4. Patty Gardner

    11/12/2011

    This is going to sound crazy but it works for me. I do NOT shop at a bunch of different stores when I buy groceries. I go to one store. If I need a few non-grocery things that would definitely be cheaper at Wal-mart or Target, I still go to the grocery store. Since I’m not extremely disciplined, I find that I spend less by buying those items at the grocery store and paying a little more. If I go to Wal-mart or Target, I end up picking up some extra things that I don’t need. So by the time you figure time, gas and impulse buys, it’s cheaper to get it at the grocery store! It may not work for everyone but it works for me.

    [Reply]

  5. Patty Gardner

    11/12/2011

    Another thing I do is use the Keep The Change option at Bank of America. Every purchase I make with my debit card is rounded up to the next dollar and moved to my savings account. I use that money for Christmas and other special purchases.

    I also save my change and use it for things we “want” but don’t have room for in the budget. I am a big fan of saving change! It’s amazing how fast it adds up.

    [Reply]

  6. L.L.

    06/09/2012

    what is the Dave Ramsey plan? Never heard of him!

    [Reply]

  7. Jo

    12/10/2012

    This may be slightly off topic, but whenever I need/want to buy something, I make sure to check with my friends first. For example, I really wanted to hem a few pairs of my pants, and instead of spending the money to get them professionally hemmed, I told my friend and she lent me her sewing machine. This way, I learned off youtube how to hem pants, and got the resources from my friend!! Definitely more time consuming, but saved money in the end!

    [Reply]

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