How to Keep Cash Flow Positive and Still Buy the Things You Want

I’m not going to lie, I like to shop, but thanks to other competing priorities, I don’t get to spend money on myself like I used to before I had children.  When I do get the opportunity to splurge a little on myself, I have to keep my spending in check in order to keep our cash flow in the black.

It’s not easy, but I just have to ask myself, do I REALLY need this item or is it just something that I want?  A lot of times, it’s the latter and if I don’t have enough cash in my account to cover the cost, then I don’t buy it.  I know, easier said than done!

There is a way to keep yourself out of debt and still buy the things you want though.  First, if you are in debt, do not carry a credit card with you!  Switch to an all-cash policy.

To keep your spending in check so as to not sacrifice other savings goals, I recommend the following:

  • Set up a separate savings account just for shopping and nickname it as well.
  • Set up an automatic transfer to occur on payday into your shopping account (you will need to figure out on average of what you can afford to spend over the course of a year and then divide that number by the number of paychecks you receive).
  • Use only this “shopping” account for your splurges so that you don’t throw your monthly spending out of whack.
  • If your account balance is getting low and you need to buy something, get creative and figure out a way to find new money.  I like to clean out my closet or de-clutter my house and re-sell like new items that I’m unlikely to use in the future, through a local buy/sell Facebook group or a consignment store.
  • Find out if your favorite stores offer a VIP club, special discounts via text messages or emails and sign up to be alerted to upcoming sales.
  • Plan your shopping trips in advance and when possible – only buy things when they are on sale.

And if you happen to be looking for some super cute new clothes or accessories for your wardrobe, check out one of my favorite boutiques Belle Up.  They carry women’s contemporary, maternity, accessories and great selection of gifts for babies and toddlers.

The above recommendation of setting up a separate account for specific goals can be applied to any spending goal that you have.  Automating the process will allow you to set aside money first for the things in life that are most important to you and it will also help to keep you out of debt.

About the Author

Kelly Stanley, CFP®, MBA is a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Wealth Advisor Representative offering securities and financial advisory services. You can reach her at or 312-382-8388.


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