How to take control of your spending and start saving

Personal Finance

Jonathan Shepherd knew his spending and money habits were out of control.

What he needed was a plan.

“I was going through a pretty strenuous situation, financially,” Shepherd said.

The Maryland physician and child psychiatrist not only wanted to set aside money for his future, he also had to save a set amount of each year to pay for things like malpractice and disability insurance.

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“Those are tens of thousands of dollars, so I have to be able to save appropriately for those and be able to have money left over,” said Shepherd.

So, he started meeting regularly with certified financial planner Lazetta Rainey Braxton, founder of Financial Fountains in Baltimore, to focus on what they call his “money rhythm” and discuss his spending and saving, as well as plan for the future.

Dr. Jonathan Shepherd, child psychiatrist

Photo: A Dr. v Image

“When I’m working with clients, we are putting everything on the table and matching that up to their goals and values,” said Braxton, a member of the CNBC Advisor Council.

“When they see those line items that don’t match up to who they want to be, that is certainly a reason to cut back.”

Shepherd is not alone in his efforts to curb his spending.

According to a recent Invest in You Spending Survey, one-third of Americans said they have cut their spending in the last year. The reasons for the shift were varied, from things like job loss to new debt. The poll of 2,800 Americans was conducted June 17-20 by CNBC + Acorns in partnership with SurveyMonkey.

When I’m working with clients, we are putting everything on the table and matching that up to their goals and values.

Lazetta Rainey Braxton

founder, Financial Fountains

While hiring a financial advisor was the right move for Shepherd, that may not be affordable or practical for everyone. However, you can still take control of your spending — and start to save, Braxton said.

“Open yourself up to someone whom you trust and say, ‘This is what I want to accomplish,'” she said.

“‘Can we keep each other accountable so that we aren’t overspending? So we are saving well and moving close to our goals?'”

And remember — don’t be so hard on yourself for your past behavior.

“This is all about growth and it’s never too late to start,” said Braxton.

CHECK OUT: 3 steps to take if you want to retire by 65 via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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