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spend smart

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Spending money is the easy part. If you aren’t careful, you can spend all of your money and not even know where it went.

The most important money spending lesson you can learn is how to practice self-control. One part of self-control is thinking before you buy, but the other part is distinguishing between needs and wants. Needs are the things we can’t survive without, like shelter, clothing, and food. Wants are the things that will make our life more pleasurable but we can survive without them.

You NEED a warm jacket in the winter so you don’t freeze. You WANT an expensive name brand jacket. Being smart about your spending means you choose the less expensive jacket without the brand name for half the price.

When you can control your spending on life’s wants, you’ll have more money available to save for what you need in the future.

Tips to Stretch Your Money and Make It Last

  • Make a list of what you need before you go shopping and stick to it. This will help you avoid “impulse buys” —items you didn’t plan to buy but that got your attention anyway. If you are tempted to spend more than your limit, wait a few hours or a few days and think it over.
  • Before you go shopping set a spending limit and only bring that amount of cash with you. By leaving the rest of your cash at home you can’t accidentally spend it
  • Comparison shop before you buy, especially when you are making big purchases. Check a few stores and online to find the best price and look at similar items.
  • Keep track of EVERYTHING you spend; even the small amounts. It adds up. Once you know what you are spending your money on every month, you will know where you can cut back to save money.
  • Be frugal. Buy items used instead of new, start clipping coupons, or start shopping at second hand stores.

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American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) offers nonprofit credit counseling and debt relief programs for consumers nationwide who find themselves drowning in debt and wondering "How do I get out of debt?" Our certified credit counselors have helped thousands of individuals and families learn how to reduce credit card debt and get out of debt through a variety of credit reduction strategies. Our credit card debt consolidation and debt management plans help achieve credit card relief by consolidating credit cards payments to pay credit card debt down more quickly. We also offer bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling and other financial education services.

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