Authors as Published

Heather Greenwood, Family and Community Sciences agent, Fauquier County

Does your paycheck always run out before the next payday? Is it possible you could be wasting a few dollars each month? Take a few minutes to read the information below and complete the exercises.

Where to start?

Learn what causes or triggers you to spend money. It may be yard sales, bargains, or perhaps when you feel sad. What are your spending triggers? Circle those that describe you.

Sales"Window shopping"Holidays
Dollar storesFeeling boredGifts
CatalogsFeeling happyNew season
Cash in your pocket / purseFeeling sad / angry______________________
Credit card"I deserve this"______________________
Blank checksBirthdays______________________
Money in the bankATM, check cards______________________
  1. Remove your triggers. If yard sales make you spend money, reduce the number you visit. If cash in your pocket makes you spend, carry little or no cash. Circle or write your ideas to stop your triggers.
    Write listsAssign children as the "money police"
    Carry "Spending Emergency Card"Check out in the "no candy" line
    Write money goalsAsk friends for support and encouragement
    Draw and hang pictures of goalsList things that cheer you up
    List some free family activities____________________________________
    Carry less cash____________________________________
    Leave credit cards at home____________________________________
    Leave checkbook at home____________________________________
  2. Use the Spending Emergency Card each time you are tempted to spend money. Cut it out and place it in your wallet or purse. (See below.)
  3. As a family, make spending rules. Common rules are listed below; add some of your own:
    A. Always shop with a listD. ______________________________
    B. Set spending limits for all spending areas.E. ______________________________
    C. Don't spend more than you can afford.F. ______________________________

Weekly Spending Log
Keep a record of your spending this week. It can help you learn about where your money goes.

DayTimePurchase$ AmountMy Feelings

For more information, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office.

Spending Emergency Card
When a spending trigger hits you, take this out and answer

the questions honestly.
  • Will this purchase help meet my goals?
  • Do I need this or do I want this? Can I afford it?
  • What will I have to give up to get this?
  • Am I buying this because it¹s on sale?
  • Am I buying because of how I feel right now?
  • What else can I do to feel better without buying this?
Buying Emergency Card adapted from the University
of Illinois Extension

Reviewed by Mabel Dianna Edlow, Extension Specialist, Virginia State University

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009