March Madness Tips for Sane Spending Habits

March 20, 2023

Financial woes making you mad? Basketball tournaments aren’t the only thing driving people to extremes this month.

Money problems can be a source of stress – even make an otherwise stable person feel a bit loco from time to time. It’s understandable. Some things are out of our control, but there are almost always some steps you can take to get to a more peaceful financial state of mind.

Examples of Unhealthy Financial Behavior

The first step to addressing a problem is facing it head on, as they say. There is a seemingly endless list of ways that folks can start to build up unhealthy financial habits without realizing it. The good news is that many of these habits are easily reversible. Shave off a few bucks here and there, and before you know it your situation will start to look a little less dire.

See anything familiar here?

  1. Unused or little-used memberships
  2. Cable TV for programs you don’t watch (or are free online)
  3. Coupons, store credit cards and points that encourage unnecessary spending
  4. Bar hopping – and consuming a few more drinks that you needed
  5. Not setting spending limits for kids or other family members
  6. Pricey lunches out when food from home would be just as filling
  7. Paying more for shipping just to get things sooner
  8. Emotional spending or grocery shopping when hungry
  9. Caving to companies pressuring you to upgrade products or appliances

Identifying even one or two small ways to shave off wasteful spending habits will add up, putting you in a saner state of mind in no time.

Consider a Spending Cleanse

Just like some people try the occasional juice cleanse to rid their bodies of harmful toxins, so too can a spending cleanse reset your relationship to money. Simply giving yourself a breather from your normal, less healthy habits will create a whole new perspective and mindset.

What do we mean by this? Try out some of these steps – within reasonable bounds, of course – and find out:

  • Take a two week break from spending on anything other than the necessities.
  • Have an accountability partner who will check in with you and make sure you’re not falling off the wagon.
  • Set your credit cards aside and live off of cash for a while.
  • Track where every dollar goes, as well as the payment method you used.
  • If money is emotional for you, keep a journal where you write down how your new habits are making you feel and affecting your life.

If any negative impacts are cropping up during this period, make any necessary adjustments. For instance, you don’t want to overlook any bill payments or neglect other financial responsibilities you may have.

Try Different Budgeting Methods to Manage Your Personal Finances

If your spending habits don’t feel entirely sane, then perhaps your budgeting – or lack thereof – is the problem. Talk to someone you respect about other possibilities. Maybe there’s something simple that can be adjusted. Whether you use a spreadsheet to track your money or keep a notebook in the kitchen, take a few extra minutes each week to figure out where all the dollars in your household are going.

In addition, budgeting apps are becoming a popular way to save. Many are free and include a tracking feature for staying on top of their spending. That allows you to keep an eye on your expenses so you can make adjustments and start spending a little smarter.

Finally, track all of your income and expenses. That way you can view any accounts, as well as debts, and truly get to the root of the problem.

Use Convenient Services at Chicago’s South Suburban SSCE

When it comes to healthy money management, Chicago’s South Suburban Community Exchanges (SSCEs) provides many different services at four south suburban locations to help locals pay bills on time, take care of auto needs, and stay on top of their finances.

Whatever your habits, we’re here to help you take care of a broad array of tasks, all under one roof. Find your nearest location or check out our other offerings online to see what else we can do for you!

Letters that spell out "hello march."