Overspending is something we’ve all been guilty of, whether it’s dining out at a fancy restaurant or ordering that expensive shirt online that you don’t really need. It happens. But, when it becomes routine, you’ll start to notice that it becomes harder and harder to save money and easier to rack up credit card debt instead.
A teacher – and self-proclaimed spendthrift – from Lake St. Louis, Missouri, knows that feeling. Her spending habits got her over $11,000 in credit card debt, so she came to us for help — and that’s where frugal living expert Lauren Greutman steps in with her tips for quitting. overspending in its tracks.
Pay yourself twice a month.
If you tend to spend all your money when your paycheck comes in once a month, Lauren recommends opening a separate account so that when your paycheck comes in, you can put half of it into that separate account for use it later in the month.
“You can also call any of your bill providers (internet, car payment, etc.) and ask if your bills can arrive on certain days,” Lauren says. “So maybe you’re trying to pay some bills right after you get your paycheck and some bills in the middle of the month after you’ve ‘paid’ yourself again.”
Use the Qube app and debit card to build your budget.
Accumulating credit card debt? It is crucial to free up some money that can be used for this in order to start paying it back. The best way Lauren recommends? Budgeting.
“There are lots of apps that can help you budget, but the one I really like is called Qube, which pairs with debit cards, it’s basically a digital cash envelope system. set up spending categories in ‘qubes’ and put money in those qubes,” Lauren says. “When you make a purchase, you open that qube, use the debit card, and then that money comes out of that qube.”
This app is unique from most other budgeting apps because it holds you accountable for the transaction in the moment, as opposed to after the fact, which definitely makes it superior.
Meal plan with frozen meals.
Your meals are one place where it’s incredibly easy to overspend. Meal prep can be the key to getting your spending under control. One downside to meal prep, however, is that you can often find yourself eating the same meal multiple nights in a row, which can get pretty boring, so here’s where Lauren’s advice comes in.
“What I’m going to do is make a meal of four servings and then split it in half and put half in the freezer. So I eat that two nights in a row and then the other two servings are there for me more later,” she explains.
“I would suggest preparing three meals on Sunday and freezing half of them, so that you can eat each meal twice this week and twice the following week. This covers six nights a week, and you can afford meals take out or eat out on the 7th night,” Lauren says.
And if you don’t know where to start when looking for recipes, some budget options that Lauren loves are spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and rice bowls, and chili!