Control Your Spending

April 17, 2018

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? If only you simply control your spending you’d doubtless be somewhat better off than you are. I speak to a range of people about debt and money management from the ultra conservative to the lackadaisical. The conservatives can be very critical of lifestyle – “they really don’t need a smart phone, or all that technology” – said about people struggling to pay bills.

But here’s the thing, the last time I drew aside the moss curtain and peered outside my cave I didn’t see bonfires burning on the surrounding hillsides. What I saw was street lights, cars, trains, buses, houses, computer and television screens lit up through the neighbourhood. We don’t live a life of reclusion, well most of us don’t, and we use the internet and cellular devices for basic connectivity – admittedly some folks are almost addicted to that form of communication.

Yes, we do need technology, perhaps not the latest and greatest but we do need to be parties to the world in which we live. How then do you control your spending? Hmmm, not so easy, over the last twenty-three years of working in this industry I have reviewed thousands of peoples’ budgets. The most likely place to look to change spending patterns is eating out, then other self-indulgent behaviour.

Controlling spending is very challenging, especially when we have access to resources that allow us to spend, such as credit cards, overdraft protection and lines of credit. It is a whole lot easier to spend money, even money that we don’t have, than it is to save it. If we could reorder our priorities, we might have more success at saving. But then we might face ridicule from friends and family members for being stingy or tight fisted with our money.

Putting savings at the top of your budget priority list makes it more likely that you will actually get around to putting something aside.