How to Be a More Responsible Spender
You’ve made major strides in getting your money situation together. Perhaps you’ve started a rainy-day fund or made a dent in your student loans. Good for you! Luckily, things can get even better. With a few small tweaks, your finances can go from good to golden. Here are a handful of ways you can be an even more savvy and responsible spender:
1. CREATE A BUDGET.
Creating a budget is a timeless money tip, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Whether you prefer to use an old-school method such as a spreadsheet, or a money management app to jot down and track your monthly expenses, a budget is crucial to living within your means. You’ll want to include both recurring expenses that don’t change every month and one-off expenses.
Making a budget and sticking to it are two separate things, so leave yourself a bit of room to fine-tune your new plan as you start using it. Good budgets are living, breathing things that will adapt to your situation. Check on your budget every so often to see if it’s working for you. You may find that you need to move a few things around, but a good budget can always be tweaked to fit your needs and lifestyle.
2. CHECK YOURSELF.
Once you’ve got your budget nailed down, keep a close eye on where you’re spending each month. Monitoring your spending will help you see where your money is going. It will also show you when and where you tend to spend too much. Going over budget commonly happens on vacation, when entertaining out-of-town visitors, and during the holidays.
Use a money management app or log in to your accounts to see what tends to spark overspending for you. This self-examination can shed light on where you could spend less. In turn, you can then make modifications and take action. For instance, if eating out is taking its toll on your wallet, commit to packing your lunch at home, or plan out a week’s worth of budget-friendly dinners.
3. SET ALERTS.
Setting notifications will keep you from going over your budget. You can set an alert on your credit card if you spend more than a certain amount, or each time you use your card. This comes in particularly handy if you’re sharing accounts with a partner and have agreed to run purchases higher than a certain limit with each other. While you’re at it, set up payment alerts for all your major recurring expenses so you won’t incur any late fees by forgetting a payment.
4. USE YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR EVERYDAY PURCHASES.
Take advantage of your credit card for recurring, everyday purchases such as for groceries, personal items, or gas. You’ll be able to track these purchases much more easily than you would be able to with cash, and you’ll be able to earn rewards like cash back. By signing up for a Discover card, they’ll automatically match all the cashback you earn at the end of your first year as a cardmember.*
5. OWN UP TO OVERSPENDING.
We all occasionally make a splurge that maybe we shouldn’t have. While you’d much rather pretend that you didn’t spend half of your paycheck during a night out with friends, shrugging it off won’t do you any good. Instead, face it. Forgive yourself, and make a vow to be more judicious with your spending next time around.
6. CREATE A 30-DAY WAIT LIST.
In our age of modern convenience, it’s easy to confuse “want” with “need.” To avoid impulse buying non-essentials or indulging in a pricey retail trip, create a list of things you want to buy. Then wait 30 days and see if it’s something you still want. Waiting a bit will give you time to decide whether a buy is necessary or worth it.
You’ve budgeted, tracked, and waited to spend. Whenever you make an everyday purchase or grab something off your “want” list, use it to help you earn as well. With Cashback Match, Discover will automatically match all the cashback you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a cardmember. *Terms apply. Learn more at Discover.com.