Learning to spend what you have not what you wish you had!
One of the hardest things in life is learning to live within our means! We tend to spend more than we have and end up using credit cards with the intention of paying them off but that seldom happens. Instead we charge up our cards and then get more cards and only end up paying the minimum which basically insures that we will be in debt for the rest of our lives! What if there were a way to change this? Guess what? There is!
When I was younger I made the same mistakes with money that everyone else does. I had many credit cards, and they were all balancing on the brink of being over the limit. And of course I could barely make the minimum payments on them. And then of course I would need something and have to charge it because I spent the money I needed to go grocery shopping on paying my bills. Something had to be done as living like that was driving me crazy.
Where does over-spending start? Well, it starts at the beginning. It’s that very first time you use the credit card for something you really didn’t need and don’t pay off the entire balance when the bill comes. I’m not talking about emergencies, I’m talking about things like going out to dinner or the movies. You may not realize it at the time but you are starting a really bad trend of spending money you do not have every time you use your credit card.
What can you do to fix this? Well, I am going to tell you what I did and I hope it works for you! I sat down and wrote a list of all the bills I had to pay every month. This list was every bill from the car payment to the cable and telephone. I then wrote a separate list that with two sides that I would update every month. I marked the left side with bills to be paid on the first of the month and the right with bills to be paid on the fifteenth. I also made it so that I had approximately the same amount to pay on both sides. Then I put a little note on the side of the paper to say exactly how much money I took home for the month (after taxes).
After figuring out what my bills amounted to I was able to see what was left over after they were paid. This “leftover” money was what would be used for gas, groceries, and anything “extra”. The important part to this though is that I had to made sure I paid my bills as soon as the money hit my account! I also had to remember that whatever was left after the bills and gas and groceries was what I had to live on until the next pay. I was getting paid every two weeks so after the bills were paid I would have quite a few days before the next pay so budgeting was extremely important.
If you have read any of my other articles on money you know that I do not use credit cards at all. I managed to pay them all off a few years ago by budgeting and have not looked back. There are always things I wish I had but to me it’s not worth the hassle of trying to figure out how to pay for them. Anyone who is worried that they will never be debt-free needs to know that they can get out of the hole! All it takes is a plan and before you know it you will be living within your means!
Published in: Personal Finance