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How to get your spending under control with a 30-day anti-budget

How a 30-day anti-budget can help curb your spending
WATCH: Kelley Keehn with Financial Planning Standards Council joins Global Calgary to explain how a 30-day anti-budget will help you curb your household spending.

Trying to curb your spending and avoid debt can be a daunting task. It’s with that in mind that author Kelley Keehn suggests Canadians try what is called an “anti-budget.”

Keehn, a personal finance educator and consumer advocate with the Financial Planning Standards Council, joined Global Calgary on Wednesday to explain the concept.

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She said an anti-budget is simple, and consists of writing down every single dollar spent in a 30-day period.

“Just once a year for 30 days track all of your spending,” she explained. “Do nothing different. Don’t spend differently.”

Keehn suggests awareness kicks in by the end of Week 1, sparking a behavioural change and helping people cut back on purchases effortlessly.

Five anti-budget tips from Kelley Keehn:

  1. Tally purchases by category. Once people see how much they’re spending each month per category, they’re shocked.
  2. Crunch the numbers. This accesses a different, more reasonable part of the brain.  Multiply by 12 and be stunned by the annual amount spent.
  3. Pay only with cash for a week. This also accesses a different part of our brain associated with loss aversion.
  4. Email or text yourself any time you buy anything.  The accountability and awareness will curtail needless spending.
  5. If you’re going to buy a “want” item over $100 agree to a 24-hour cooling off period.
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Numbers released by Statistics Canada last month suggest Canadians owe $1.67 for every dollar of disposable income.

“Canadians do not have adequate emergency savings, they probably never track their spending, and they probably aren’t reaching out for help,” Keehn said.