Want to get on top of your finances? Get good at the game of “Gotta vs. Wanna”
We’ve all been there – standing in our favorite store, about to drop cash on that one thing (or several) that we want just because we wanted it. But have you ever thought about all the things you buy and how much they cost? Keeping track of your spending can be eye-opening. Look at your purchase history and do the math to see what is consuming the majority of your funds – and it might surprise you.
Chances are, you’ll see a clear divide between Gottas and Wannas. What are these? Just two realities seeking control over your budget: things you absolutely need (Gottas) and things you just want (Wannas).
Here’s are some examples of Gottas vs. Wannas:
- Water vs. a new Coach purse
- Electricity vs. a new video game console
- Gas in the car vs. seeing the newest movie in the theater
- Health insurance vs. a new mountain bike
- Pizza vs. veggies (only kidding, we just really like pizza)
Analyze your spending
Many banks have built-in budget calculators on their website that will show you where you spend your money in categories broken down as food, automobile, utilities, groceries, and miscellaneous expenses. This can be a big Aha! moment if your money has somehow vanished before your very eyes. Going out to eat can be one of the biggest expenses consumers overlook. It is so easy to stop by a restaurant for dinner instead of having to take time to prep, cook a meal, clean up and put everything away. We have gotten so used to convenience, that it’s almost easy to forget how often we’re spending on restaurant purchases. If you go out to dinner 3 times a week with an average cost of $15 per meal, you’re spending $45 a week just in food. This means, by the end of the year by just going out 3 times a week, you will have spent $2,340 whereas buying your own groceries, making dinner yourself, and dealing with the cleanup could have drastically cut this cost. So next time you stop by the drive-thru, be sure to ask yourself if you want to buy dinner, or if you need to buy dinner.
Make meaningful purchases
It’s become too easy to buy whatever we want with the tap of a finger. Before you click the buy it now button, ask yourself, Do I really NEED this? Can I wait to buy this until later on or do I need it right now? If you’re a frequent online shopper (we’re not judging, Amazon makes it so hard to say no) and you buy an item online weekly that costs $30, you could end up saving yourself $1,560 a year just by honestly answering that one simple question. Add that item to your wish list and revisit it later on if you actually need it.
Stick to the list and don’t ever shop hungry
If you’re a foodie, or if you just get distracted easily, getting groceries can end up being more expensive than it needs to be. Getting your essential items can get tossed aside when you start walking every aisle, especially if you’re hungry. It becomes very easy to pick up anything you see that you may want and forget about what you actually need. Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you know your store well enough, stay to the aisle you need to be on to ensure you don’t wander into the areas where you know you’ll grab what you don’t need.
Start being a savvy shopper with coupons and sales. You can get lucky and find coupons online that can save you a little money here or there instead of just purchasing the item without twice. Even if the coupon is only for $0.50, it’s fifty cents you kept by a couple clicks.
No matter what the reason, saving is important. A LendingPoint loan can help no matter where you are in life
Even if your credit score is lower than you would like it to be, you do have personal loan options. A personal loan can even help improve your credit score. By taking out one of our personal loans. you can make affordable monthly payments and build your credit story by making on-time payments each month. As you continue to make your payments on time, you build your credibility and your credit history. Apply today!
Want to learn more about budgeting?
We’ve assembled a comprehensive multi-part guide to creating a budget that’ll help you get on top of your finances.
- Start here: Wondering where all your money goes? A personal budget helps you keep track
- Need help with budgeting? There’s an app for that
- All LendingPoint posts about budgeting