We all know yo-yo dieting is a no go. It’s bad for your health and ends up with you piling on the kilos rather than losing them. Sigh. I’m telling you right now though, it doesn’t stop me from occasionally entertaining thoughts of trying to starve myself for a few days before a big event (don’t worry I am completely crap at this as I have an enormous appetite and have never succeeded in having my starvation plans survive past breakfast! Phew.).
Anyway… point is, binging doesn’t work with your finances either.
No, I’m not talking about all the money you’ll spend splurging on delicious, tasty, mouth-watering goodies once you’re starvation diet has ended (although this would not be ideal either). I’m talking about the binge budgeting habit that so many of us get into when we’re in the debt cycle.
Years ago, when I was not the ‘expert saver and investor’ (gold star Sarah well done) I am now, I would binge save for holidays. I’d book in a trip and then do nothing about saving for it, continuing to spend everything I earned week in and week out, and then in the couple of weeks before the trip, I’d just sacrifice EVERY. SINGLE. THING. and save my entire pay cheques to cover the trip. Inevitably I wouldn’t have enough and the credit card would come out, not to mention the fact that when I got home, rent would be due and I’d be struggling to pull it all together. It would take ages to get back on track.
Another favoured bingeing tactic by many, is to furiously pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible, again sacrificing EVERY. SINGLE. THING. and promptly follow this up with a shopping spree. On said credit card. To reward such good behaviour. #whatthe
So, how do you stop the binge budgeting cycle?
The answer is simple, and probably a little boring my friends. It’s called consistency. Rather than turning over that new leaf and going crazy at the last minute sacrificing everything to pay down debt or save for something (makes me sweaty just thinking about all that misdirected enthusiasm). Start smaller, start slower, but start now… before you even need the money.
Set up an online savings account, and start putting away $20 or $50 (or whatever you can afford) from every pay cheque immediately upon receiving it. That way, when it comes to your holiday, or whatever you may need savings for, you’ll have some money available already. If you have credit card debt, do the same thing, set up an automatic bill payment onto the card immediately following every pay day for as much as you can afford, without being ridiculous, and cut the card up. Commit to paying it off, over time, with NO REWARDS for good behaviour along the way. Reward yourself when you’ve paid it all off, by going on a holiday, with your actual savings. So much better.
This was not my idea…
I’ve bolded that heading because I want to give credit where credit is due, and I did not come up with this awesome concept of binge budgeting. One of our WE Financial Coaches, Bec Boles did… and I stole it (thanks Bec, don’t kill me), because I love it and it’s so simple to understand, and it’s so damn true. Errybody’s doin’ it and that ain’t cool.
If you’re keen to stop binge budgeting and learn even more about building an awesome financial future for yourself, check out my 8 Week Money Makeover program, or better still book in for a FREE (that’s right FREE) Financial Kickstart session with the famous Bec Boles herself or one of our other super WE Financial Coaches. You know you want to.