However much we'd all like to budget better and cut our spending, the simple fact is that some people are better at it than others. So, what can you do to manage your expenses if you're not good at or just really don’t like budgeting?
Use cash instead of credit cards
Paying by credit card makes spending easier than ever – perhaps too easy, in fact. Counting out dollars and cents in a store or restaurant helps you to really think about how much you're spending.
Check your bank balance regularly to make sure that you're spending what you've planned to spend and that you're not overdrawing your account or incurring fees.
It's also easier to budget if, for example, you withdraw $50 and decide that this is going to last you for the next two days.
Get into coupons
Retailers and other companies are fighting harder than ever to get us to spend money with them. One way of doing this is to offer coupons. Following company Facebook pages and checking brand websites for email newsletter sign-ups will give you access to these offers of discounts.
Follow the 50/30/20 rule
According to this rule, you should spend no more than 50% of your income on essentials such as housing, food, utilities and your minimum credit card payments.
Personal spending (things like nights out with friends and family, vacations, and clothes) should account for 30%.
Then, aim to devote 20% to your longer-term financial goals. These might be retirement savings and other investments plus any debt repayment and putting money aside for emergencies.
Change your shopping habits
If you're tempted to browse shopping websites during your lunch break or you can't help wandering into a store on the way home, then do something else to distract yourself. Find another site to visit while you're eating your lunchtime sandwich or looking at your phone on the bus. When you go to buy food, take a shopping list and stick to it. Ignore the other things on the shelves.
Check your mood before you shop – people tend to spend more when they're either feeling miserable (or hungry) or when they're on a high. Also, before you buy something on an impulse, pause and ask yourself whether you really need it.
It might be a struggle at first, but persevere and you'll break your bad shopping and savings habits. Doing things that avoid excessive spending will soon become second nature.