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How to cut back on mindless spending

Mindless spending can destroy even the best budget. Thankfully, there are some ways to cut back on careless expenses. It takes a little bit of patience and thoughtfulness, but you can do it. Here are some tips.

Understand What You Value

The first step toward cutting back on mindless spending is to understand what matters most to you. Think about what types of things and experiences bring you the most joy. Maybe you like eating out with friends. That would mean you should allocate more money to that category and cut back on others. Perhaps you like going to the gym. Again, that means your spending should go more toward health and fitness expenses than other things. Keep in mind that your values might change over time, so it’s important to regularly check in and make sure that your values match your spending.

Revise Your Budget

Now that you know what you value, it’s time to revise your budget to reflect that. Go through your spending and saving categories and change them accordingly. If you see that you’re spending a lot on items that don’t bring you joy, cut back and funnel that money to what matters more to you.

Be Patient

While your goal is to align your values with your spending, remember that no one is perfect. There will be times when you spend too much on things that don’t matter that much. It’s okay. Just think about the purchase, why you did it, and how you can improve going forward. No one is flawless when it comes to money. Don’t expect yourself to be.

Do One Thing. For the next two weeks, keep a values-based spending journal. Track your expenses on your phone, computer, or by hand. Then go back over them and ask which expenditures you’d make again. Those you choose are the ones you value.

Chris O'Shea

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