Over the last six months I have been on a campaign to lose weight — with moderate success. Since the New Year, I have been on a campaign to reduce spending — also with moderate success. I’ve noticed that many of the principles that apply to weight management also apply to money management. So, here are some ideas for putting your spending on a diet.
Set reasonable, moderate goals. You cannot expect to be successful on a diet unless you give yourself an attainable goal — the same thing is true for saving money. Start small, say $5 a week. This can be achieved by bringing your lunch to work twice a week. Take the $5 you saved and set it aside. As you become comfortable, increase the goal.
Find other outlets for your emotions. While many people are emotional eaters, many are also emotional spenders. If stress sends you right to Macy’s or Wal-Mart for that matter, (or the fridge!) find another outlet. If you need some space or time alone, head to the library or park instead of the mall.
Trim the fat. From your meat and from your budget. It is nearly impossible to track all your spending and savings unless you are writing everything down. While keeping a food journal is helping me learn where my pounds came from, creating a budget and shopping with a list will help you control spending.
Find other rewards. I always treated myself with a splurge when I attained a goal — Ben and Jerry’s is good for that. Instead of buying yourself a gift when you’ve accomplished a task, reward yourself with time — time to read, time to soak in the tub, time to play with your kids.
Avoid temptation. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach or picking up fast food on the way home are sure bets for overindulging. Shopping is loaded with temptations. When you head out, bring a list and stick to it, bring along only the cash you will need, leave the department store credit cards home and don’t carry your check book.