Do You Need to Go On a Spending Diet?

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By now, all bills from the holidays have arrived. Are you in shock? Are you overwhelmed at how to pay that credit card bill or bills?

Fortunately, getting out of debt can be accomplished with a little work. If financial issues are approached as if they are health goals, then people may understand that financial stability is a process. Unless you are extremely wealthy, paying off bills cannot happen overnight.

If a credit card bill results in stress, it is recommended that a spending diet occur. If you do not have an online tracking system or spreadsheet, list out your expenses for January and categorize each spending. There are always expenses that can be eliminated to free up cash to pay down debt.

If expenses can be viewed as elements of nutrition, it may be easier to recognize expenses that can be reduced or eliminated. Too often we view many optional expenses as things we cannot live without. If optional expenses are viewed as desserts or junk food, it may be easier to understand that we can survive without them. Desserts and junk food taste really good, just as some expenses are more fun to purchase, but they can make us unhealthy. Excess spending can make us financially unhealthy.

Some expenses that are often hard to eliminate or reduce are television expenses, cell phone expenses, subscription services, beauty services and entertainment.

Many would argue that television entertainment prevents excess spending on entertainment outside of the home. Add up all your viewing options that you pay for such as cable, Netflix, Hulu, and/or Redbox expenses. Consider services that you are using less or suspend them for a period of time until more financially stability is achieved. A reduction in screen time can also help meet any other goals that were set such as reading or exercising more.

The argument can be made, that it is impossible to live in 2018 without a cell phone. With consistent competition among cell phone providers, better plan prices likely exist. Sometimes a better price plan exists with your current carrier. A little research can go a long way to increasing more monthly cash flow.

Many companies are now operating on a subscription service. While most are only $10-15 a month, they can quickly add up to become a major budget buster. Each year, it is wise to review all subscription services and cancel any that are not being used.

Do you get your nails done? Hair colored or trimmed each month? Do you frequently pay for a blow out? Anything beauty related can add up to major expenses quickly. While paying down debt, research providers that may provide the same service for less money or consider doing some items yourself.

Entertainment expenses can add up quickly as well. Google free activities in your area and begin to explore your community. Saying no to certain entertainment options as a parent can be difficult, but it can be a good teaching moment as children need to understand the value of money.

Bottom line, paying off debt is like any health goal; hard work must be made to achieve it. Are you able to reduce your desserts and junk foods to trim up your budget for a healthier financial future?

Writer Bio: Summer Bolte

I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.  

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