My Six-Month Spending Ban


Have you been wondering why you’re not meeting your financial goals? You have the best of intentions for your money, but things never seem to go according to plan. The car needs to be repaired, those shoes you’ve been eyeing went on sale, the family has organised a long overdue reunion…sometimes, it seems as it your money is spent even before you get paid!

If you want to make a change once and for all, take a deep dive into your spending habits and you will very likely uncover lots of wants disguised as needs. In an effort to fast track my savings goals, I kept careful tracking of my spending;  here are some of the items I banned from my “need-to-buy list” for six whole months:

  1. Snacks, coffee and store-bought meals — That TT $65 you spend every day on breakfast and lunch adds up. Let’s face it: TT $1,300 at the end of the month will look so much better in your mutual fund account generating interest, and your waistline will appreciate the much-needed break from snacks and other not-so-healthy indulgences.
  2. Expensive cable subscriptions — Why spend hundreds of dollars for cable every month when you can stream the latest movies or sitcoms online for free? A Netflix account is a good alternative to those pricey cable providers.
  3. Anything new — Do you absolutely need a new swimsuit, makeup kit or pair of shoes? What void are you trying to fill with the swipe of a debit or credit card? If you look into your closet or makeup bag, there are probably lots of forgotten items just waiting to be used.
  4. High-priced groceries — What’s in a brand? In a taste test, could you really tell the difference? Probably not, so if you want to save on trips to the supermarket, buy local or generic brands instead.
  5. Weekly hair and nail appointments — Who doesn’t like to look and feel good? But when it’s getting in the way of your vacation or retirement plans, you simply must cut back.

If the ban seems daunting, don’t be deterred. Try and and, like me, you may come out the other side asking why you hadn’t done it long ago! You are more than capable of doing anything you put your mind to — and if you stick to the ban, your wallet and financial future will thank you for it.