It happens when we're not paying attention. These little budget leaks start to trickle out each month or each week and before we know it we are underwater.
It's a coffee here, or a trip to the drive-thru on a day you're really, really tired. I mean, do you guys remember the chicken finger incident?
A could weeks ago I did a post on two reasons your spending freeze might have failed. I think this failure is usually due to one of two things, a lack of planning and not changing the root behavior.
I truly believe that big change happens in small steps. It's why the baby steps are so popular, it's why people flock to Weight Watchers. It's why human beings take 40 weeks to grow. Big things happen in tiny steps.
If you're looking at cutting back on your expenses you might be tempted to cut out everything all at once. And this works for some people, it did for us. We cut out cable, eating out and a mess of other things all at once. But this change also coincided with the birth of a new baby and a big move. Our lives were already changing so rapidly, what were a few more changes to us?
But since then, when I have tried to eliminate several things from my life all at once it hasn't worked. Why? Because I tried to do too much all at once. That's why it's better to pick one thing you're going to eliminate and focus on that until it's no longer a habit.
For example, right now it's little league season. Pretty much every family I know is driving to the ball field multiple times a week. Pair that with end of the year activities and events and it makes for a stressed out mom hitting up McDonald's. This can wreak serious havoc on a budget.
Did you know that the average U.S. family spends more on dining out each month than they do groceries? (Source)
So why not focus on that change? Decide you're going to try out some new crock pot meals? In fact, here is a list of 60 + meals to get you started.
Decide that for the month of April there will be NO DRIVE THRUS. No Chick-fil-a. No Wendy's. Not even Subway. You can make a sandwich at home.
See how $10 here and there can really add up fast.
Maybe you have been considering finally cutting cable. You might be home so little to watch it and what's the point when you can watch pretty much anything for just a few dollars a month?
Maybe you have an issue buying tube after tube after tube of lipstick at Sephora. Decide for the next few weeks you stay away from high-end makeup stores and love the colors you have at home.
Maybe it's clothes. Maybe it's the nail salon. Maybe it's cranking down the thermostat because you like the house cold at night. Whatever it is, choose to go one month without it.
These are small changes that yield big results.
hat about you? Where could you cut your spending?