How to save money for long-term needs and goals instead of short-term wants

I’m the same exact way—Impulsive shopping will be my downfall. I’ve found a method that helps me, though.

Every time I get a paycheck (so every other Friday), I sit down and force myself to calculate bills. After bills are paid, I calculate how much I have left. I budget the money for things in this order:

• Savings (10-20%) • Giving (10%) • Gas (enough for two weeks) • Groceries (enough for two weeks, but buy in bulk and as less frequent as possible) • Shopping NECESSITIES (including bathroom supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.) • “Fun money” (no more than 30%)

After those amounts are determined, I go to the bank. This is the best part. I pull out the total amount of the budgeted items above, usually in $10 bills, except for my savings budget (I’ll get to this later). I go home immediately (avoiding all advertisements and trying not to obsess about what I could buy now), then split up the money into different labeled envelopes for each of the budgeted categories. Money isn’t allowed to be taken out of the envelope unless it is directly paying for the service I’ve budgeted. If you start blowing through each envelope before your next paycheck, it may help to split it up even further, into “week 1” and “week 2.” I usually keep these envelopes hidden safely in my car, so I only use it when I absolutely need to, and so I won’t shop online so much.

As far as the savings go, you can adjust the percentage saved as needed, but never less than 10%. Put it away in a bank savings account. My bank prevents me from drawing money from savings more than twice a month. It may also help to write out some of your long term goals, and keep them visibly near your envelopes.

TLDR; Organization and budgeting into envelopes really helps control shopping impulses. MAKE yourself practice self control.

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