“Economy does not lie in sparing money, but in spending it wisely.” Wise people will tell you that Thomas Henry Huxley had that much right, anyway. Spending wisely is a critical part of financial success. But how does one actually go about “spending wisely”?

Money is a useful instrument, a tool. Like any tool, the better you use it, the more effective it is. To spend money wisely, spend it according to a plan. Think about what you need and what it will take to get it, in both the short- and long-term. So, set goals and use your money to meet them.

Focus on things directly within your control (and don’t let anybody convince you otherwise):

  • Live within your means
  • Be a smart shopper, not a lazy one
  • Track your spending habits, develop a budget that allows for unexpected events
  • Plan for short-term and long-term goals

One thing that the Financial Literacy council suggests is that you set a maximum amount you will spend each week, or each month, and stick to it. There are lots of other really good suggestions on MyMoney.gov. Visit the web page for resource links and planning tools to help you spend your money wisely.