Dax Shepard: Stop Going ‘Bonkers’ Over Little Expenses — 5 Time-Tested Budget Tricks To Grow Your Wealth

Walt Disney Television Upfront Presentation, Arrivals, Tavern on the Green, New York, USA - 14 May 2019
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In his own version of “don’t sweat the small stuff,” Dax Shepard is offering some financial advice to his legion of fans — stop worrying about all the little expenses and focus on cutting out the bigger ticket items.

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Shepherd, worth $40 million according to Celebrity Net Worth, is clearly doing something right. But even though his acting, podcast and new plant-based baby brand Hello Bello he launched with wife Kristen Bell bring in the riches, he still focuses on the best ways to save.

“I’m obsessed with money,” he told Money magazine in a recent interview, adding that he and Bell have very different perspectives when it comes to spending and saving. While Bell is more carefree, Shepard says he’s keen to build a nest egg for when the two Hollywood stars stop working.

One of his big beliefs involves putting spending in perspective by identifying which cuts will have a bigger impact in balancing the budget. “First and foremost, people need to actually be aware of where they’re spending their money. It’s easy to get hyper-focused on things that aren’t really moving the needle,” he shared with Money, saying it’s something he saw Bell do often. 

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“She would drive herself bonkers about an item at the grocery store, and I would point out what she’s spending on some other high-ticket item that she isn’t even thinking about on the regular. If you clean up that aspect, then you can never think again about how much lunch is.”

MarketWatch noted that not only is this practical advice (there is plenty of research showing that cutting out big items is easier than all the little ones — and more cost effective, too), but it also eliminates what one expert calls “decision fatigue.”

“Making a good choice one time can be so much more effective than having to make choices on a regular basis,” certified financial planner Akeiva Ellis told the outlet.

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Here’s some time-tested tricks to help your budget, as Shepard advised:

  1. Track every dollar that goes in and out. While you may not “balance your checkbook” anymore, a similar practice can be effective to see where you’re spending money. Is the small stuff adding up to something significant comparative to big purchases? Clarity brings insight to how much you’re spending (chances are, it’s more than you think).
  2. Save for the big items rather than splurging. Make sure it’s something you really need and can’t live without before buying. The America Saves organization has a great plan with the SMART goal for being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely with big purchases. 
  3. Add to cart, but don’t check out. This is one tactic even Kristen Bell does when she shops online, Shepard told Money. Doing so might give you the thrill of shopping without the financial ramifications. Plus, if you keep items in your cart, the appeal to buy them might wear off rather than if you made an impulse purchase.
  4. Pay attention to automated payments and recurring expenses. Autopay is great for convenience and avoiding late fees, but beyond the essentials, you might want to double-check who is actually taking money out of your account and how much. This can be imperative for streaming services and subscriptions you don’t use frequently. 
  5. Put together an annual budget in addition to a monthly budget. Doing a 12-month plan will put the bigger picture into focus and assess what big purchases may be coming and which you can avoid.
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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined GOBankingRates.com in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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