Fight off those spending temptations
It’s that time of year. Student Loans are coming in and suddenly there’s a lot of money in your account. Mine came through this week. It’s a little buzz when it appears. Money is one of those things which is both so abstract and weird yet so intimate and real. So with the new term starting and many of us trying to quiet those urges to buy stuff, how do we keep our spending to a minimum?
Be aware of what you spend
My first bit of advice would be to start a savings account. If you don’t already have one, they’re great. You can do it online through most banks and it takes seconds. You can put all the loan in here and pull money out to your current account as and when you need. There’s two benefits of this: firstly, it’s not on your card so you can’t just spend it. Secondly, when you are going to spend it you have to transfer it to your current account. This makes the process more conscious and can alert you when spending unnecessarily.
Make a budget! I’m sure you’ve been told this many times. That’s because if you make one and stick to it, they really work. I use the budgeting app Pennies (sadly only available on iPhone). But there are many out there. Get a free one that works for you. Put your budget in there, and log every bit of spending you do.
A good friend of mine recommended this to me years ago. Whenever you feel like you want something, write down the item in a journal (I note it on my phone) and then a week later ask yourself if you still want to buy it. If the answer is yes, think about it, see if you can afford it and find the cheapest option. If the answer is no – or if you forget to look – you don’t actually want it. Don’t buy it.
Or, if you want a simple method, just ask this question every time your about to purchase something.
Does this add value to my life?
The answer will tell you what to do.