Get Your Finances in Shape for the Summer — Go on a Spending Diet
With summer approaching, just about everyone is imagining how they’ll look in swimwear this year. Some are prepping the sun tan oil, while others are hitting the treadmill ASAP.
Yes, it’s time to get in shape for summer, but are there any other areas of your life that could use some toning up as well?
Take your finances — when you think about it, the consistency and willpower necessary to keep your diet in check could really benefit your savings account, too. Here’s how you can go on a diet and get your finances in shape just in time for summer.
Practice Portion Control
According to CreditCards.com, the average American has close to $16,000 in credit card debt alone. In many cases, spenders simply lack self control when it comes to credit.
To get your financial diet started, implement portion control like you would in order to cut calories. For example, do you ever question whether you really need that extra cookie?
Just like overeating adds on pounds, overspending adds debt to your name. Apply the same thought process when your credit card is in hand to curb charging. Do you really need another pair of shoes?
Keep a Journal
As Jihan Thompson of Marie Claire writes, “Between the cell phone and cable bills, gas tank refills and every day expenses, keeping track of your finances is as onerous and daunting a task as calorie counting.”
However, WebMD notes that a weight loss study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found keeping a food diary may be the key to losing extra weight, just as journaling your spending habits is the key to reducing expenses.
By consistently writing down every penny you spend for several days or weeks, you may be surprised by the level of squandering you’ve been doing. Tracking every day expenditures can pinpoint where you need to cut back and help you create a budget to start saving instead.
Avoid Crash Diets
Remember the grapefruit, cabbage soup or similar starvation diet that only led to a shameful week-long binge once it was over? Maybe you lost weight fast, just as the diet promised, but the pounds came right back with the help of Ben and Jerry.
Excessive restriction never works, especially when it comes to personal finance. Fad or crash diets don’t teach you the healthy behaviors that will benefit you long-term. Trying to scrimp and save every penny now will not only make you miserable, but probably lead to a future burn-out known as “frugal fatigue.”
Lifeoptimizer.org shares a great point in regards to extreme saving in Saving Money: Why a Financial Crash Diet Could Be Bad for Your Wallet: “The secret to weight loss is to consume less calories than you burn, the secret to wealth building is to spend less money than you earn.”
So, this summer, try to incorporate some of these dieting techniques into your financial life as well. Your wallet could end up in the best shape ever this year.