Okay, y’all. I know this is a blog about the reading and writing of books. No one is telling anyone how to or how not to spend their money. If you borrow or trade books with friends, check out at the library, hit up the used book stores, the local bookstores, the big bookstores–that is completely at your discretion. You want cheap pens and notebooks or the crème de la crème? That is so completely up to you.
But if you’re like me, you might occasionally need help reigning it in. So take all this with a pile of salt, and only apply as needed. But since I need help, I thought there might be a few like me out there who could use the help, too.
So here are some ideas for how to get a handle on your spending:
Lifehack has 15 tips, including: cancel catalogs and emails; borrow don’t buy; trade & barter.
Bankrate has a 7 Day Challenge. One financial planner says clients don’t realize how much they’re spending. “I ask them to guesstimate… how much cash they’ll need for a week’s worth of spending. It’s just the day-to-day stuff like gas, groceries, going out for meals. The usual outcome is they’re out of money by Wednesday.” (Ba)zing(a)!
Don’t worry that this HuffPo 10 tips article was posted for Canadian readers. Author Mary Hunt can help us, too! Sales and coupons, I gotchu fam. Make your own cleaning products? Huh! I’ll have to read up on that one.
With a web address like Money Saving Expert Dot Com I’m going to have high expectations. And these promises sound pretty good: “Whether you need scaring or tips, want mantras or help cutting back, this guide and the frightening Demotivator tool will help tackle those spending demons.” Dang! Sadly the demotivator is set to UK £ rather than US $, but you can still get the idea. There’s a Budget tool you can use, too. One good tip here and elsewhere is: Work out what it costs in work time. If you earn $10/hr and you buy a new hardcover from your favorite author for $28, you had to work 3 hours to buy that one book. Not meant to deter necessarily, just put it into perspective. Honestly, guys, this site looks pretty stellar! Tips like “Keep a list of your debts/savings targets in your wallet”! They also suggest only grocery shopping once a month (whoa!) and/or doing grocery shopping online, dang! I’m going to have to look into some of this stuff…
RealSimple is a magazine I love, and currently my only subscription. Their advice is in the form of a call and response, starting with this doozy: Excuse #1: But It’s On Sale — Did you know that stores create fake markdowns on their price tags? Ugh!!! See also, “We love the changing seasons to keep life interesting. But seasons are not a built-in excuse to spend, no matter what the retail and advertising industry would have you believe.” Sound all-too-familiar?
The Business Insider has 35 suggestions, including this one that really sparked me: “Spend your money where you spend your time, and cut the rest. If you’re a runner, you need good shoes, and if you spend a lot of time in the car, you should invest there. This kind of thinking helps you trim the superficial stuff that does not add value to your life.”
My Simpler Life had a lot of really good info, though it doesn’t seem fair to quote all of it here rather than having you click back to the source that deserves the credit. So a few sneak peeks include: “the thrill is in the hunt…try new games”; Read Wall Street Journal’s Can Money Buy You Happiness (though it looks like they requires a subscription or sign-in, the tl;dr is no); carry a wallet buddy; try a web blocker (they suggest this one, and I’ve had good luck with this one); try a 30 day spending fast (needs ok, wants no way); and read frugality blogs–wow, I didn’t even know that was a thing! This one might’ve been my favorite of all the good finds.
Make Use Of gives just 4 tips, but they’re good ones, like using an app, Excel, or online tool to track savings, spending, and debt. I’ll check out a bunch of apps and do a follow-up post about the ones I liked best.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich: while this particular post is about 10 years old (making reference to the upcoming year 2007), this guy sounds like he really has his shit together. I mean, seriously. I agree with him when he says it isn’t about what you spend your money on (whether you love shoes or bikes) but about the percentages (how much of your money is going toward the fun stuff vs the necessities? What about savings?) And doing some more research on this guy, turns out he is a NYT best-seller named Ramit Sethi (does it rhyme with dammit? inquiring minds!) and he’s super cute. Heh. But yeah, check him out.
Okay, y’all, that’s all from me for today, and I think we can agree it’s more than enough to chew on for a bit.
With utmost love,