By now you’ve saved up a nice amount of money by following the steps in the Goodbye Boss Series. You’ve collected some gift cards and stored them away for a rainy day. Perhaps you’ve worked overtime and tucked that extra money away in your Coming Home savings account. You’re well on your way to learning how to spend less money.
Even if your savings isn’t as much as you would like, take a moment to be thankful that you are at least moving forward toward your goal. It may take time, but the key is to never stop moving forward.
One of the habits I had to break when I was working toward leaving my corporate job was excessive shopping. I loved to shop – in the store and online. It was always for something I thought I really needed.
And it was always just a little here and a little more there. Not big, huge purchases at once. So I thought I was doing okay.
Until I sat down one day with my bank statement and actually added up all of my purchases for just one month. I was shocked.
The amount I spent on unnecessary items (including eating out) in just one month was in the hundreds, like two to three-hundred.
I knew then I had to learn how to stop wasting money and save more if I wanted to come home soon.
How To Spend Less Money
Today we’re going to add to your savings progress by learning how to spend less so you can come home sooner.
It’s called a Spending Diet.
Over a 30-day period, we’re going to trim and tone your spending until it’s barely recognizable. You’ll gain new saving muscles and end up with a savings account that looks healthy.
It starts by doing what I did – taking inventory of your spending.
You should already have a list started from Part 5 of the Goodbye Boss Series. Take out this list and then using your latest bank statement (or two), add to it any other purchases you know were really unnecessary. Be sure to include the amount of each purchase next to the item.
Next, total up your list and circle that total amount…highlight it in bright yellow. This is the amount you could have put in your savings account instead of in someone else’s.
This list will help you know what to avoid spending your hard-earned money on. Put it in a place you’ll see it often to remind you of your goal.
Next, pick a start date.
Many moms choose the beginning of the month, but you can start at any time.
Over the next 30 days, your goal is to avoid purchasing any item from your list AND avoid adding any new unnecessary purchases to the list.
Only buy what is absolutely necessary to fulfill your family’s basic needs.
Now, let’s go one step further. Before you go grocery shopping, do an inventory of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. List the items you have on hand. Then create as many meal plans as you can using only the items you have on hand.
Next, create meal plans that may require purchasing only one or two items from the grocery store to complete it. This list should be much shorter than the first one.
Your goal is to use up what you have on hand before going to the grocery store. It can really help you come home sooner if you know how to spend less money on groceries.
Create meal plans for at least a full week or two, but strive to create them for the entire month. The more you can plan ahead, the more likely you will be able to stay on course.
At the end of the 30-day period, I want you to look at your new bank statement, subtract your expenses from your income for the month, and then compare your ending total with your previous month’s total. You should have more income this time around.
Now take the difference between the two totals, write a check for that amount, and deposit that money in your Coming Home account. This amount represents the money you saved by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
And you just earned more by spending less.
So your steps for this week are to:
- Pick a start date for your Spending Diet,
- Create your list of unnecessary purchases (your Avoid list),
- Take inventory of your on-hand food, and
- Create meal plans for the month.
Like for any diet, the more you prepare, the better your success. So I encourage you to take the time to complete these steps and then commit to your Spending Diet.