How to Curb Spending Habits

This post about curbing spending habits is brought to you by Atlantic Lexus.

Are you sinking into debt? Do you have a spending habit that you simply cannot break? We all fall into the trap of overspending from time to time and then need tips on getting back out of that cycle. If you are facing the reality that you have a spending problem, then please read this article for tips on how to curb spending habits.

6 Ways to Curb Spending Habits

 

How to Curb Spending Habits

Set Long-Term Goals

 

You will only succeed in curbing spending habits if know what goals you have in mind. Set long-term goals to save towards something you want, this can be as simple as saving to have an emergency fund. Figure out what you want to do with the money saved from breaking your spending habit and write it down.

Know Want vs Need

 

The biggest reason many fall into the spending habit is that they stop the recognition process of a want vs a need. Make a list of needs that you have within the household, and then evaluate what you have been spending money on that isn’t a need. Make a commitment you will not spend any money on wanted items.

Shop with a List

 

I don’t know how many times I have ventured into the grocery store without a list. This is the easiest way to curb spending habits. Make a list of items that you need before you head out the door, this will keep you on track and spending less with every store visit.

Use Cash Only

 

We live in a society where debit and credit cards are easier to use than cash, but that is what creates a spending habit. Learn to use cash more often and cards less. Consider giving yourself a weekly cash allowance, so that you can only spend that cash on wants and when that cash runs out, you don’t replenish until next week.  Buying a new to you car with cash is an empowering feeling.

Avoid Spending Triggers

 

If you really want to curb spending habits then you must take time to evaluate where you are tempted to spend the most money. Write down what you have for spending triggers and use this information as a means to curb spending habits without much effort. This is a great way to know your weaknesses too.

Look for Savings

 

Lastly, you will want to be smart about what you do spend your money on. One way to curb spending habits is to start learning how to spend frugally. Look for savings, digital coupons, and deals prior to going shopping. If you have a smartphone, there are many apps to help you find the best savings.

There you have it a few easy to follow tips on how to curb spending habits. These tips will leave you feeling refreshed, less broke, and able to take back control. When you have control of spending back in your life, you will find you have some extra cash to spend elsewhere.

Making (and Maintaining!) a Freezer Inventory

FI 1

By Rachel Zupke

I’ve got a chest freezer and love it.  But I don’t love how hard it can be to put my hands on the package of chicken thighs or the bag of frozen peaches.   I also find that I forget what’s in there and often come home from Costco with a giant bag of frozen blueberries when I’ve already got a bag in there.  I had tried my hand at making a freezer inventory two summers ago when our garden produced way too many green beans and I had hours on end to peel, slice, flash freeze, and bag peaches (August + teacher + no kiddo).  I wrote up a great spreadsheet and marked off how much of everything I had but then I never updated it.  And when I looked at the printout thinking I had a dinner’s worth of sliced steak in a neatly labeled freezer bag (which I did at one point), our beef stroganoff ended up being mushrooms and pasta with cream sauce.

Why you should have a freezer inventory

If my anecdotes haven’t convinced you to make a freezer inventory, perhaps these reasons will:

  1. Stay within your food budget: buy in bulk when items are on sale and freeze until you use them in a meal.
  2. Meal plan effectively: when you are planning a week’s worth of meals (how we roll), you know what you already have on hand.  This is really great if you used up a good portion of your monthly food budget (what we do) buying in bulk the previous week.
  3. Store with confidence: foods get eaten in a timely manner before they get freezer burned, too old to eat, etc.
  4. Avoid overbuying: you don’t purchase something you already have, especially if you need to stick to a food budget.

Making your freezer inventory

So how do you make a freezer inventory?  You could use ones that are already available (ones you can find online by googling “freezer inventory” or the ones I made which are attached here) or you could make your own.  I’ll walk you through how I made mine (time estimates after each step):

Step 1: Pull everything out of your freezer and write it down – both what you have and how much of it you have.  This probably means taking everything out for a few minutes so you can get to the bottom of the freezer.  If you realize there are things that you typically buy but you don’t have on hand right now, include them on the list as well.   You can put your food back in the freezer once you record the type and amount; the rest of the steps are all done on paper or the computer.  (15 minutes – when you’ll want your crawler to hang out in the exersaucer 😉 )

If you’re also using this as an opportunity to clean your freezer, put everything in a cooler/another freezer and take a few hours to defrost it.  For us impatient folks, take the pancake flipper to the ice to hurry up the process.  While you’re at it, toss anything older than a year or that you don’t see yourself eating.  Freezer burned ground pork, anyone?

FI 2

Step 2: Organize your written inventory into types of food.  I went with fruits and veggies; main dish; breads (muffins, pitas, etc) and breakfast; meat, poultry, and fish; treats, dairy, and other. (10 minutes)

Step 3: If applicable, organize within categories.  For us, that meant listing items “ready to bake or heat” separate from “sauces” under the “Main Dish” heading. (5 minutes)

Step 4: Designate typical sizes based on how you would retrieve them from the freezer.   I chose “1 loaf” for things like banana bread since you’re not going to leave half a loaf in the freezer (unless you stored it that way, of course).  For something like pizza sauce, I chose “1 cup” because I buy a giant can of pizza sauce and separate it into vacuum seal bags in 1 cup portions (I L-O-V-E my FoodSaver – no, there’s no affiliate link and I didn’t get paid to say that).  It really just depends on how you store things in the freezer. (10 minutes)

Step 5: Mark how many of each of the serving sizes you have.  In the case of whole chickens, I’ve got 4 of those (for now). (10 minutes)

You can use the “Comments” to note what kind of product you have: i.e. raspberry and strawberry freezer jam.

Total time: 50 minutes to an organized freezer!  And since the first step is the only non-paper/part, you can spread out the rest when you have time (or tackle it all at once, of course).

FI 3 done

Utilizing (maintaining) your freezer inventory

The key for maintaining a freezer inventory is to be consistent.  For me, that means having the list on a clipboard hanging right next to the chest freezer.  Whenever I get home from the store, I mark down what I purchased before it goes in the freezer.

FI 4

I’ll use this round of print outs until I don’t have any more room to write on it.  You might want to keep it electronically or print a new one out sooner than that.  I’ve found that if I use a pencil, the OCD side of me is more willing to write on it and actually use the inventory because I can always erase an entry when amounts change and/or erase my sloppy handwriting if I need to get things in the freezer quickly.

So…grab your favorite hot drink (chai for me!), a friend or an exersaucer to watch the kiddo(s), and get going on that freezer inventory.  If you don’t want to make your own, you are welcome to the PDFs I made for myself (below).  If you discover any tips/tricks, please post them in the comments.

Happy organizing!  Here’s to a more maintained home. 🙂

~Rachel @ reprezent98201 Mason Jar Values (I got a new home on the internet!) for embracinghomemaking.net

Downloads

PDF: Fruits and Vegetables

PDF: Main Dish/Breads and Breakfast

PDF: Meat, Poultry, Fish

PDF: Treats, Dairy, Other

I’d love to hear how this goes for you!  Comment below or fill out the form to email me!