Good spending habits: 6 useful ways to control your spending

Good spending habits begin with learning how to control your spending. But how can you be good with money? How can you manage home finances, control your spending and start saving?

Sometimes the hardest part is starting! Good spending habits, like any habits, take time to cultivate and hone. Even if you’re not overspending, it’s important to have these skills to ensure you’ve saved enough for a rainy day. We’ve collated 6 useful ways to control your spending, including instructions on how to set up a budget and stick to it! However, at the end of the day, you’ll need to adapt these strategies to best execute your household finances tactics.


Starting good spending habits

Spending money is pretty easy, even if you don’t have the cash! It’s exciting to get new things because they are presents that we give ourselves. Unless you have crippling buyer’s remorse, most of the time, it’s exactly what you want! Maybe you already have a budget, which accounts for some flexibility with spending cash. If so, that is a great place to start! However, expenses can quickly creep up on you if you’re not actively saving. For example, the price of groceries can quickly inflate depending on different factors. This means that you can quickly burst your budget without even realising it or buying anything extra.

That’s why it’s important to watch both your big and small expenses. Your small expenses can quickly add up and your big ones can put you in the red in a blink. There are many free apps and tools available to help you track your spending and your income. One excellent tool is the Pocketbook app, which syncs with your bank account and generates monthly reports. Find out more about this app here Apart from these tools, there are several skills you’ll need to master if you want to get good spending habits under your belt.

  1. Be disciplined

    It’s not easy to say no to an extra serving of guacamole for $2, but how to control spending and start saving begins with a commitment. You’ll need to make tough choices, but if you persevere, saving will soon become second nature. Plus, this will force you to scout out the best happy hour drinks in town so that you get the best bang for your buck.

  2. Revise your budget regularly and stick to it

    When you plan out your budget, it’s important to allocate every single dollar. Either save, invest, spend or pay off your debts. If you don’t have a guide, there are many tools and financial planners to help you with managing household finances.

  3. Keep a wish list

    There will always be a few unexpected things that you will need to buy each month. However, follow the 30-day rule. If something stays on your wish list for 30 days, you’re allowed to buy it. If not, or if your desire for it has waned, you’ve just saved yourself some buyer’s remorse!

  4. Give yourself a cash allowance

    While using a credit card can be very useful in tracking your spending, what if you find yourself consistently overspending? Put yourself on a cash allowance. You can even adopt the envelope method which essentially means you split your cash into separate envelopes for different purposes.

6 good spending habits

How to manage home finances? Spend your money in a smart way because this will make each dollar stretch further. Here are some good spending habits that you can adapt to control your spending!

Create a plan

Decide what’s important to your budget and your goals, be it saving for a holiday or paying off an old debt.

Study before you shop

Got a big expense coming up? Do some research on the best value buy, when to buy and where to buy it!

Avoid things, people or places that make you want to overspend

Have you ever walked into a shop like Typo and had an overwhelming desire to buy everything you see? That’s the kind of trigger you need to avoid. This could even be a baked goods shop or coffee shop! Those $7 hand-crafted morning coffees can quickly put you over your budget.

Don’t browse online shopping sites

It’s very tempting to ‘casually’ browse through your shopping apps while waiting around. You could even be in the queue to buy something and be browsing through another store’s online store! If you’ve already got your credit card out to pay, it’s almost too easy to treat yourself to two new presents.

Wait out the itch to buy

We’ve gone into a store and seen something we feel we need more than life itself. However, rarely is this feeling real. Telling yourself to grab the item before it disappears is a trap and you know it. Don’t worry, the item will most likely be there tomorrow unless you’re shopping on Black Friday. If you can’t wait a whole 30 days to decide to buy something, wait at least 7 days!

Find a savings partner

There’s nothing shameful about wanting or needing to save more. Good spending habit can only be cultivated if you’ve got some form of accountability forcing you to stick to them! Pick someone you trust, they need not follow the same savings plan as you but they’ll need to keep you honest. This is the person you’ll need to discuss a big purchase with and have them lend an objective opinion. For example, they should be able to say, “no Sarah, you do not need a life-sized statue of a horse in your living room”.

How to be good with money

Good spending habits can start with trimming away the unnecessary costs in your budget. Here are some ways how you can control your spending and start saving today!

  • Movie tickets can be an expensive luxury. Unless you’re catching a must-see movie, wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it at home instead. Alternatively, you could sign up for on-demand TV sites like Stan or Netflix and cut out the costs of going to the movies and cable together!
  • Revise your internet or phone plan for a cheaper one.
  • If you have the time, visit different grocery stores. Sometimes certain things are cheaper at different stores. If you do your research properly, you could walk away with tons of savings!
    Buy store brand household items instead of the branded stuff. This doesn’t just apply to groceries or household items, but to clothes and accessories as well! Do you really need those $430 Prada sunglasses? If you really do, can you get them second hand?
  • At the restaurant, stick with water. Get your drinks for cheap at a bar later!
  • Aim for happy hour for cheaper drinks!
  • Make your own coffee instead of paying for a cup every morning.
  • Buy frozen seafood and vegetables, especially during off seasons.
  • Avoid convenience stores, which are always more expensive.
  • Keep your tyres full and your car regularly serviced for long-term savings.
  • Walk or take public transport instead of your car.
  • Bring your own lunch to work instead of buying out. It’ll also be healthier!

Good spending habits apps

There are many great apps out there to help you manage your money. Here are just a few free ones for you!

Control your spending

Mint syncs up with your bank accounts to track what your income and expenses! It’ll tell you when your bills are due and what you’ve got left over.

The Acorns app tracks your expenses and invests whatever is left over!

PocketBook will tell you how much you have at your disposal right now and how much you can afford to spend at any exact moment.

Good Budget helps you split your budget into different categories and monitors how much you have available to spend throughout the month. Perhaps the best bit about this app is that it analyses your spending patterns. This way, you can check if you’ve cheated on your budget plan.
Managing household finances

Money Manager Expense & Budget is a useful app for families or share homes who need to see all their bills at once.

Splitwise helps you share your bills with others, like your family members or roommates. You can add people to a bill, create different groups and send reminders to others. It’ll even calculate the tax on bills for you so you don’t need to worry about being short-changed!

Fudget is a short-term bill tracking app, perfect for those holiday expenses. However, you’ll have to manually add your purchases because it doesn’t sync up to your accounts.

Money management

TrackMyGoals lets you set and track your savings goals, by allowing you to enter in every expense you make.

Expensify is an excellent tool for people who prefer to use cash but find it a hassle to constantly input their expenses. The app scans your receipts and collates your expenses in an excel sheet, which is excellent during tax season!

Level Money is for people who simply cannot decide on a budget. The app will look at your income, regular expenses and calculate a suggested daily, weekly and monthly budget!
Good spending habits start with having a budget and knowing what your money is going towards. Controlling your spending doesn’t have to be a stressful or shameful task. Focus on a short timeframe, like a week. If it goes well, try out a full month.