How to Budget with no Money and Curb your Spending

Published on July 15, 2019 by Lauren
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    Have you ever wondered why you just can’t make ends meet each month? Wondering How to Budget with No Money? Maybe why your income and spending just aren’t adding up? Well, the majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Why? For some it’s because they cannot stop spending their money. Many times, this comes down to intentionality.

    From all of my experience and financial coaching, the #1 thing you can do to curb overspending and budget even though you don’t have any money, is to make your spending a reflection of your values.

    At the end of the day, no one enjoys drowning in debt. No one enjoys feeling out of control of their finances, but many spenders don’t think about that in the moment. Meaning, many spenders don’t think beyond “now” when they are in the store confronted with a purchase.

    In the moment when I was overspending and impulse buying, I wasn’t thinking about all of the stuff I bought a week ago. I wasn’t thinking about getting a credit card statement at the end of the month. I wasn’t thinking about my kids’ college. I was living in the moment, but had no idea how to budget. The problem is, that in the moment, I was not thinking about the things that really mattered to me – my children, and our long-term financial security. My spending was not reflecting my real values, therefore I kept on having NO money!

    I have some questions for you. Really think about your answers to these questions:

    1. What are you chasing in life?
    2. What do you value in your life?
    3. Is your spending putting your family at risk?
    4. What would financial success ultimately look like to you?
    5. Would achieving that financial success involve you changing something in your life?
    6. Could you chase what you are chasing right now and still achieve financial success?

    If you are a Spender, my guess is that you’ve never sat down to define your values when it comes to money. I certainly never defined my values when I found myself in $40,000 of debt. Before becoming debt-free, I shopped impulsively and rarely thought of the consequences. I hardly even thought about what or why I was buying; it always just sort of happened.

    It was painful, and it took me a while to figure out, but I ultimately decided I was chasing the idea of being able to do whatever I wanted with our money. And that idea really isn’t practical and it isn’t a wise use of finances, no matter how much money you have.

    Once I resolved to change, it became clear that making my spending a reflection of my values would take practice, intentionality, and hard work. But it was worth it!

    Here a few steps on How to Budget with NO money:

    1. Stop using credit cards. These can be VERY dangerous for spenders! And no one thinks being in debt is one of their life values.  Either cut them up, or literally freeze them in water in the freezer.  That way it takes you a long time to get to them, and by then you have hopefully thought about your purchase.
    2. Think about the people that matter to you the most. Is your spending going to be what’s best for them in the long-run?  Will you be able to retire and live comfortably?  Will you be able to pay for your kids college tuition?
    3. Think about the things that you cannot live without. Is cable TV, another gadget, or a new pair of shoes really more important than your electricity bill?
    4. Make a list of your bills in order of importance to survive – Think about family, food, and shelter – so things like groceries (not restaurants), house, utilities, childcare, etc. Get a Money Saving Budget Planner to help.
    5. See how far your take-home-pay gets you down the list you made. Pay your bills in that order and if you run out of money, you’re done for the month.
    6. Keep spending your money in order of priority each month, and if you have a little extra, put it in savings, or take the kids for ice cream, but make sure your top priorities are all covered and plan for the extra things ahead of time.

    One huge thing I did years ago to change our spending deficit and get us in the black was to save money anywhere I could. The easiest place I found to do this was at the grocery store. Plan your meals around what is on sale that week, curb eating out, clip coupons, and shop at ALDI. This could easily cut $100 off of your grocery bill each week.

    That’s the same as working a small part-time job. I’d be willing to bet that with a little planning you could probably free up at least $400 a month at the grocery store. If you immediately had that extra $400 a month available, what should you do with it? I recommend putting that extra cash back into your bill priority list and make more financial progress! There are so many side hustles that you can do from home to make extra cash. You don’t have to be stuck being broke your whole life!

    Spending begets spending, and saving begets saving. If you are in spending mode, it brings about more spending. If you are in saving mode and have yourself on a stricter budget, you will tend to save more and make better decisions.

    So, make the decision to realign your spending, so that you can finally stop falling prey to whatever you’ve been chasing, and start chasing your values, like – Your family. Your retirement. Your children’s education. Saving for an emergency. Saving for the future. And getting to the place where you can give to others.

    I can’t tell you what your values should be, but I can tell you is that once your money and values are in sync, it is much easier to stop overspending. You don’t have to keep spending the way you are or living the way you have been. You can change. Curb your spending, define your values, and focus on the things that really matter to you in life. Let those things determine your spending, saving, and giving.

    In my book, The Recovering Spender, I tell my story of overspending – how I got my family into $40,000 of debt, and then I give you the step-by-step plan I used to become completely debt-free in 4 years. 

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