Are you struggling just to stay afloat, barely making minimum payments on your bills? Don’t turn to retail therapy! There are a lot of things you shouldn’t blow your money on if you’re broke. Taian Insurance
Think carefully about your spending, especially when you’re going through a tough time financially. Here are some things you should reconsider before you waste your money.
Let’s get real here. No one ever needs a new car! While you probably require a car to get to work and meet your other obligations, there are many less expensive ways to get transportation.
Don’t be beguiled by the shiny convertibles or the new-car smell. Craigslist and used-car dealers offer plenty of reliable and affordable vehicles. Do your research and find yourself a car that will get you from Point A to Point B without breaking the bank.
The best part? With the hundreds of dollars, you could save each month with a sensible car choice, you could start investing. Investing isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think, and Future You will thank you for putting your money to work now!
Constantly Eating Out
Other than housing and vehicles, food is one of the biggest expenses most of us have. Sure, eating is a necessity, but there is a wide range in how much people spend on their food and drink. A simple (though not always easy) way to cut your monthly expenses is to reign in your restaurant spending.
If you’re going out to eat all the time, you’ll save a bunch by cutting down to once a week, once a month, or even quitting the habit altogether. Brown-bag your lunches. Learn to cook delicious dinners at home.
Of course, you don’t want to deprive yourself entirely of all the things you enjoy. If eating out is really important to you, figure out how you can plan the occasional treat into your budget.
If you’ve never organized your budget, there’s no time like the present! Sign up for a budgeting app like one of these great Mint alternatives to help you figure out where each dollar will go. That’ll help you set your priorities so you can breathe easier when planning for special occasions.
Books, magazines, movies – these are all entertaining parts of life. Still, buying new is costly and totally unnecessary. If you love a great novel or are dying to see the latest film, buying it new in the store or spending money on movie tickets could really mess up your budget.
The great thing is, you don’t have to sacrifice one bit in this category! You just might need to adjust your habits a little. Consider trying a cheap streaming device for TV shows and movies.
Even better, you can get an enormous variety of books, magazines, DVDs, and other media without spending a dime. Your local library is a fabulous resource with more than enough of these items to educate and entertain you!
Activities for Entertainment
If you’re big on other entertainment activities that cost money (concerts, theatrical performances, etc.), you might need to hold off on those until your finances are more stable. Remember, entertainment goes in the “want” category, so there are some things you might be unable to attend.
Museum memberships, amusement park passes, and shows can come with a hefty price tag. Start thinking outside that box and look for free entertainment alternatives. Your local park district may offer free concerts or movies in a lovely outdoor setting. You can also wait for the museum’s free admission days.
You’ll find there’s no shortage of ways to have fun without spending your kids’ college fund. At the very least, cut back to an amount you can afford. Again, budgeting apps and tools can help a lot!
A lot of us drop a lot more cash on new clothes than we might realize. Unfortunately, this can get really pricey. Again, all you need is to make a few simple adjustments.
While there are certain items you’d prefer to have brand-new, it’s easy to score great deals on other clothing by checking thrift stores (especially those in well-off neighborhoods). Often, people give away brand-new or barely worn items that you can then pick up for a fraction of the cost!
Travel is great, and it’s something everyone should do when they get the chance. But when you’re broke, expensive trips are out of the question. Don’t jet off to Europe or the Caribbean on your credit card if you’re having trouble paying your electric bill.
Try frugal ways to enjoy a vacation, like driving to a nearby city for the weekend instead of flying somewhere exotic for a week. A simple change of scenery can do a lot for your mental health, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Impulse Buys Because “It’s on Sale”
Do you tend to make impulse buys because it happens to be on sale? Or, maybe you’re a sucker for buying other “must-have” items that advertisers try to convince you are essential?
Remember, just because something is marked down doesn’t make it a necessity. Heck, if you don’t need it, it’s not even a “good deal” for you. If it’s not in your budget, it doesn’t matter how cool it is or how insane the sale may be.
Rather than buying something simply because it’s on sale, take a step back. Give yourself a mandatory waiting period, like 48 hours or one week. Usually, the appeal of the item will fade by then. If the time passes and it still seems like a good use of your money, then you might consider making the purchase.
Financial Wisdom 101
Here’s the bottom line: If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. It’s really that simple…even though it can be hard to follow through.
We all fall on lean times, but out-of-control spending can make them last even longer. So, try these alternatives instead of blowing your money on stuff you don’t need. By taking control of your money, you’ll be happier now and in the years to come!
Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. He is the co-owner of the popular blog Club Thrifty, where he teaches others how to spend less and travel more.