There are thousands of blogs, articles, books, and workshops floating around in the world that are all circulated around the same topic; how to get out of debt.
There are differing opinions and views about how to get out of debt, stay out of debt, and better manage your personal finances. Among the vast majority of those views is the same principle; track your spending.
We live in a world where money is electronic. today we have credit and debit cards, papal accounts, apple pay, Samsung pay, and Bit Coins. Money has become numbers on a screen and has lost it’s reality as total value. Studies show it is easier to spend more money with electronically than it is when you have the cold, hard cash in your hand.
Tracking your spending starts with using cash and leaving your debit card at home. Let’s say you’re going out to a local electronics store to buy a new television. You have a budget in mind of $300. You have done your research at home, you know exactly which model you want to buy and so you go out with the exact amount the television will cost in cash. You get to the store and begin walking around looking at all of the bigger, brighter, and more defined televisions. Suddenly the great model you found for $300 seems too small or too dim. What are you going to do? If you’re smart, you’ll buy your television for the $300 you planned and you’ll be happy because a $300 television is an upgrade from what you own now. Maybe you will leave the store without a television and you’ll go home and save for a week or two until you can afford the nicer model. Now, let’s pretend you are not that smart, which we all know you are. But let’s say you forgot to leave your credit card at home and guess what? You have $500 available on that card! That means you can take your cash and your credit card and buy an $800 television! Sadly, this is what most of us do on a daily basis. Maybe we our budget says we have $5 to spend on lunch. You decide to go to Panera bread for lunch and notice there’s a great lunch special for $10 and it looks delicious. You have your debit card in hand and decide to double your budget for lunch that day. Guess what, chances are you’re going to do the same thing 3 days out of the week, spend more money than you budgeted because you decided to leave home with your debit card.
See, this is where tracking your spending and paying with cash will benefit you. If you track your spending you can see those patterns developing over time and see how much you actually spend over budget each week because of using your credit or debit card instead of sticking to your budget and paying with cash.
We hope this helps,