You can still get ice cream treats with your family. You can still have the occasional shopping spree.
On those days when I feel that I will burst if I cannot spend some money, here’s what I do…
#1 Shop for items as you need them.
You can’t feel guilty about spending money, as long as you are buying things that you need.
For example, when my son’s feet suddenly grew 4 sizes, I had no problem letting him wear his dad’s shoes until the day I found myself itching to buy him something. So I grabbed my son and told him he had a $50.00 budget for shoes. We went to the local Ross store at the outlet mall, and he got a pair of sneakers and a nice pair of shoes. Plus, there was enough money left over to get me a new blouse.
The Lesson Here: When you only buy what you need when you need it, you’ll save money on the frivolous items.
#2 Find a cheaper version.
My family of 4 used to spend $20 at the local ice cream parlor. Just because you’re trying to spend less money doesn’t mean those occasional cravings have to go away. However, for $5 you can purchase 4 ice cream sundaes from McDonalds, rather than the ice cream parlor. You can spend even less, if you purchase ice cream cones. (Even better than the lower price is the lower calories! A McDonald’s sundae is approximately 300 calories. This is 100 calories less than the average scoop from Stone Cold Creamery.)
The Lesson Here: Try to downsize, or find less expensive versions of the things that you are used to. It could pay off in more ways than one. And you might find a new “favorite”.
#3 Give yourself an allowance.
If you used to blow $100 a week at the mall and this is no longer feasible, then give yourself a smaller allowance of perhaps $25 a week (or $100 a month) at the mall. This way, you can reward yourself for controlling your expenses and even keep your wardrobe up-to-date by purchasing one item each week. (I learned this tip from my mom who used to purchase her kids something every week, even if it was a pair of socks).
The Lesson Here: Don’t take all the fun out of getting new things. As long as you pace yourself, and indulge in one or two items at a time — rather than a whole shopping spree — then you’ll feel better about the money you spent.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.