As we bid “adieu” to the end of an era and reminisce about the past five seasons with the beloved, morally-corrupt Walter White). We can’t help but feel at peace with the closure the finale brought us; however, we can’t say goodbye just yet. Since Walt’s main focus was protecting his family and making sure that all his hard-earned money was left for their financial security, we can’t help but think about our own spending habits.
Today, finances are a major cause of stress and worry, which can lead to an unbalanced and unhappy life. I think we can ALL agree that Walt is a prime example of this. In honor Breaking Bad’s final episode, we’ve compiled a list of tips on ways you can reduce your own financial stress.
This is what happens when you over-spend and let financial worry rule your life! Don’t be like Skyler; break those bad spending habits!
1.) Distinguish your needs from your wants. Do you need the new iPhone 5S or do you just want it? Chances are, unless your phone is broken or landed in a toilet this weekend, you just want the new iPhone for its “cool new features” and it isn’t something you necessarily need. Before contemplating a purchase, ask yourself whether this is something you really need. Also, be honest about how your purchase will impact your life, and then decide if that “want” is worth the asking price.
A vacuum cleaning robot is definitely not considered a “need.”
2.) Use cash only. Credit Cards make it extremely easy to overspend because you don’t directly see how much money you’re spending or how it adds up. According to MIT’s Sloan School of Management, people who use credit cards instead of cash are willing to spend 100 percent more. This statistic is quite scary; however, you can change that by leaving your credit cards at home. After all, you can’t use them if you don’t have them!
Not all of use can be as lucky as Walt and have over $17 million in cash; however, this is the ONLY thing we envy him for.
3.) Find a shopping buddy. If you find yourself having a hard time saying no to your impulses, then find someone who can talk you down. Designate a friend or family member as your shopping buddy/voice of reason, and only shop when they can go with you. This will prevent you from buying those “new” featured products you don’t really need.
4.) Review your budget and set an allowance. Sit down and see how much money you need to allocate for your bills, groceries and savings every month. After determining this, whatever is left over will be your monthly allowance for non-essential items. It’s important to get organized, set your budget, and spend your allowance carefully. Remember: once it’s gone, the spending stops!
Everyone can always use a little motivation when it comes to setting an allowance; use Mint.com if you need some extra help.
5.) Set long term goals. Many people find themselves spending a majority of their money on small purchases like coffee and convenience food. Instead of wasting your money on these items, save up for something you really want like a vacation or getting out of debt. Set your goal and remind yourself what you’re saving for each time you feel tempted to blow money on a non-essential item.
Boycott your weekly carry-out pizza. That extra $15 a week can go towards the vacation you’ve been dreaming of!
6.) Stop engaging in emotional spending. Advertisements are carefully designed to manipulate our spending habits, so it’s no surprise why so many people have become emotional spenders. Emotional spending occurs when you buy something you don’t need or don’t even really want, as a result of feeling stressed out, bored, incompetent, upset or even happy. Learn to recognize when this occurs and curb your spending.
7.) Only hire help when necessary. We all know hiring someone else to mow your lawn every two weeks is convenient, but is it really necessary? A task as simple as this can only take an hour of your time and save you about $80 a month. Depending on how often your lawn is mowed in the winter months, that adds up to about $600 saved a year! You’d be surprised how much money you can save when you opt to complete simple tasks yourself!
What are your best tips for breaking bad spending habits?