As the New Year races towards us, you’re probably already thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions. Have you already started regretting the eating choices you’ve made as you step on the scale? Is your budget also in need of some help? Overeating and overspending can often happen in tandem, and both can wreak havoc on your life. One can expand your waistline and the other can shrink your savings. They also often coincide: The more food you are eating, the more you’re spending! With resolutions on the horizon, perhaps you’d like to deal with both of these issues. Here’s some helpful advice that can tackle both at the same time.
This advice might be confusing at first but, bear with me. Putting some time in between your need to eat or the need to shop can be very helpful. For instance, let’s say you want to buy a touch lamp you saw on Amazon that has multiple settings and colors. It would look great in your room and add such nice ambiance! Instead of buying it right then and there, put it in your cart or save it to a list and wait awhile. Odds are, after the initial gleam wears off, you’ll realize you have working lighting in your room and you might not actually need it though it would be nice. Putting time between the moment of “wanting” the item and buying it will help you figure out whether or not you really need it.
The same goes for food. If you look at a cake and think, “I want cake,” it might be best not to eat it right then and there. Wait a while, instead. Ask yourself, “Am I actually hungry?” To check that out, ask yourself if you would eat a banana instead. If the answer is no, you are probably not actually hungry. You’ll avoid unnecessary snacking, keep your calories down, and avoid spending on the slice of cake you passed at the grocery store. If you wait, in either instance, you’ll find you will probably make a better decision for yourself in the long run.
While you’re waiting to buy that lamp or eat that cake, it might be time to rethink your habits on a whole. People go in for a lot of short-term solutions. Crash diets in the New Year will get off a few pounds. Scrimping and not going out might also do the same. But you might stop your diet when you get to your ideal weight once a few months go by. You’ll probably end up gaining the weight right back if you go back to your old habits.
Similarly, if you save up some money but your bad spending habits come back, you’ll lose the headway you make. Sit and think about how you eat and how you spend. Is it snacking that kills your eating? Is it breakfast? Or do you eat a lot at night? What about your spending? Do you go out too much? Do you spend too much on renting movies from Amazon? Sit down and write down your eating habits and spending habits. Think about and see where your issues are. To truly stop overeating or overspending, you need to make lifelong changes – not short-term ones. Jumping on the latest fad diet or attempting to save money without truly addressing the issues will only lead to backsliding and issues later on.
Once you’ve rethought your habits, it is time to create new ones. Make a realistic plan that will help you create profitable new year and life. Sit down with a budgeting app like Mint and help create your new budget based on your observations. You can also look at apps like MyFitnessPal to help create your plan for not overeating.
Mint will help guide you in creating your budgets and gets linked to your checking account and credit cards so your spending will automatically get updated. You’ll be able to see how your budget is being affected after every purchase. Similarly, MyFitnessPal will help you figure out how many calories you need to be eating to either maintain your weight or help you lose weight. You can log in the foods you eat throughout the day and it will literally tell you when you’ve gone over your calorie amount! Next time you stare longingly at a slice of cake, you’ll know if you can “afford” to eat it or not. It’s a great way to be accountable until your eating habits get adjusted.
Ultimately, you need to stay vigilant. Overeating and overspending are not projects you can be done within a month or two, or even six. They’re lifetime commitments to better your health and your financial security. It won’t be the most fun decision you ever make, but the savings could send you on a great trip – and wouldn’t it be great if you looked awesome in your bathing suit for that trip? The rewards will outweigh the adjustment period, we promise. If you need some help getting your New Year started on surer footing, might we recommend an installment loan? We’d be happy to help! Good luck, and may your budget and your waist be trim this New Year!