Organizing expenses, planning purchases, avoiding impulses and keeping an eye on credit are simple attitudes that you can put into practice today to control your expenses.
Although there are several financial organization applications, blogs and articles on finance and even rules already known to everyone such as “don’t spend more than you earn” , there are still people who get confused with money and end up having undesirable surprises at the end of the month .
How to control expenses?
Write down and categorize your expenses
If you are more traditional, you may prefer to record everything in a notebook or spreadsheet , but if you want an easier solution, there are several free financial organization applications.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you go about writing this information down, as long as you do it for all of your expenses . As insignificant as those pennies you spent on candy at the bakery or something like that seem insignificant, when the end of the month comes, the sum of these small expenses can surprise and make a difference in the bills.
Also, create categories for each expense. Dividing everything you spend into pre-defined categories such as housing, food, leisure, health, transportation, etc. will help you identify where your biggest expenses and savings opportunities are.
Plan and organize your purchases
As trivial as it may seem, the habit of making that old little list before going to the supermarket can not only help you save on the month’s purchases, but also apply to other shopping moments. Whether walking through the market aisles with your cart or browsing through the catalog of some e-commerce, know exactly what you want to buy before actually going shopping.
Listing everything you need to buy helps, of course, not to forget any important items, but it also serves to stay focused and buy only what is necessary. If you make these lists in advance, it also allows you to compare prices and take advantage of promotions or special opportunities to purchase something you’re planning.
Internet shopping can be easier to do a price comparison as you can simply go to different websites and see the options available at each one. Even if physical purchases are not that easy, some large supermarket chains already offer their own applications that you can use for this type of research, and even paying attention to asterisks and promotional prices on the market shelf can be important to control spending. .
Avoid superfluous and impulsive spending
The previous tip will already help you a lot to avoid unnecessary expenses and stay focused when shopping, but it is worth reinforcing this point because it can have a huge impact on your financial health, whether in physical purchases or on the internet .
You may have already noticed that most bars, markets and restaurants offer a multitude of candies, gum, bonbons and other little things near the cashier, and prices are usually much higher than if you bought in quantity. This is a common tactic to encourage impulse buying . You’re paying your dinner bill and you didn’t even order dessert, what’s the problem with spending another real or two on a little chocolate? At the time it may seem indifferent, but remember that adding these occasions at the end of the month the surprise can be very bad .
For digital purchases, in addition to avoiding browsing e-commerce sites aimlessly and taking the risk of making an unplanned purchase, a tip that can help a lot is to unsubscribe from your email newsletter and promotional lists . Remember that the purpose of this type of email is to sell, even if you don’t want to buy. If something lands in your inbox and catches your eye, chances are you’re not in desperate need of that item and can take the time to better plan that purchase when it’s most convenient.
Be careful with your credit card
Finally, the one that many people consider the villain of bills at the end of the month: the credit card.
Of course, the credit card can be a great ally when you need to buy something and you still don’t have the money due to all the credit limit facilities and installment options , but when you lose control of this alternative it can become a big problem for your finances.
Precisely because of credit limits and installment purchases, the card can help you spend more than you have and only face the result when the bill arrives at the end of the month. Here, the important thing is to be aware when using the card, taking advantage of the facilities it offers but avoiding making purchases in many installments and paying attention to the amount that is being added to the invoice after each purchase.