How To Stop Spending Money Using These 15 Tips and Tricks
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“STOP SPENDING MONEY!”
We’ve all shouted that in our head when those bad spending habits make an appearance.
If you’ve recently created a personal income statement, you’re probably finally getting to see the dollar figures associated with your overspending.
Maybe you always have to have the most up-to-date electronic gadget or you’re a sucker for a good sale.
Maybe you go into the grocery store for that one thing you need to finalize your recipe, but you come out of the store with 10 items.
Whatever the bad spending habits are, you know they’re a problem and you know they’re holding you back from working toward financial freedom.
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Bad Spending Habits? Really?
Just know that what some people might see as overspending, could be right in line with you and your budget. You need to define what a true bad spending habit is for you.
In other words, if you consistently cut back on spending in other categories so that you can dine out four times a week, more power to you.
You’ve identified what’s important to you and made it happen by being frugal in other areas.
If your budget is still functioning properly and you’re meeting all of your goals, what other people view as overspending may not be a problem for you. Don’t let anyone judge you for how you’re spending if you know it works for you. Don’t let them control your spending.
But what if that isn’t the case?
What if you only want to spend $50 a month dining out, but end up spending $250? Do you just stop spending money altogether?
You may be looking at a bad spending habit and it’s time to face the problem and battle it until you get it under control.
As you already know, it’s stopping you from saving money or even worse, causing you to pile on debt. I assume that’s not your goal.
What’s Causing Your Overspending?
Before you start working with some of the tips and tricks outlined below, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate what may have led you to this point. In other words, are there any specific reasons that you’re overspending? Let’s go over a few possibilities.
How did you feel the last time you had a budgeting breakdown?
Were you upset over something? Were you bored?
Start tracking how you feel when you splurge on a specific item. For example, if you buy a soda every day at 2:00 PM, write down how you were feeling.
Maybe you were bored or you ran out of things to do.
Maybe every day at 2:00 PM, two of your co-workers gossip about other people in the office and you just need to get out of there.
By identifying the underlying issue, you may be able to stop spending money you don’t have.
Personally, I’ve started taking a short walk to handle my typical “afternoon snack syndrome”. When I have the craving, I just get up and go. It’s helped me refocus my mind and control spending.
Find out what your trigger is, and make adjustments to ensure you deal with it in a more budget-friendly manner.
Do you find yourself spending money every time [insert name here] is around?
As you may already know, it’s super easy to spend someone else’s money. So if you have friends that encourage you to spend money, they might be getting a nice rush at your (literal) expense. You need to find a way to tell them to knock it off because it’s making you broke.
You may also have friends that are making more money than you. It’s tempting to try and keep up, but it will only lead to financial stress. Learn to say no. Find ways to hang out with them in ways that don’t cost a lot of money.
If they only want to spend money and can see that you’re not comfortable with that, they should respect your wishes. If they don’t want to help you stop spending money, then they’re not as good of a friend as you thought.
Social media can be a wonderful thing. It allows you to keep in touch with friends and family that have moved away, connect with people that have the same interests as you, and so much more.
But, it can also be a curse to your wallet.
By consistently only seeing the best side of everyone else’s life, you feel the urge to put up the same appearance. You want others to know you’re doing great too and that can often lead to overspending on food, clothing, vacations, and more. We want to craft that perfect Instagram picture to show the world we’re living large.
Social media also shows us advertisements for all the things we desire.
Have you ever checked out a pair of shoes on a retailer’s website only to find those same shoes following you everywhere you go on the internet? You start seeing them in your Facebook feed, on Instagram, and even on the apps you use on your phone. Personally, I once shopped for cat litter only to have that cat litter follow me everywhere around the internet. I even had ads popping up on my phone’s weather app. How can I stop spending money when I’m bombarded with all these ads?
You see, almost every website has a tracker on it so they can target you with ads almost immediately after you leave. So, you need to constantly be aware that you’re being advertised to.
To help avoid some of this tracking, you can use a web browser like Brave and you can adjust advertisements on specific sites you visit. For example, here’s how you can eliminate most of the ads you see on Facebook.
In today’s world, it’s extremely easy to spend money. You swipe a piece of plastic, tap a button on your phone, or click the “Buy It Now” button on websites. Sometimes without even knowing which form of payment you’re using.
In many instances, these “conveniences” can make it feel like you’re not even spending money.
In fact, some individuals have reported spending 10-15% more per transaction just because they’re using a credit card.
If that’s the case, it may be best to stop using credit cards and switch to cash or debit for a period of time. The first tip below can really help you address this issue and stop spending money.
How To Stop Spending Money
Control spending habits using these tips.
1. Take Only The Cash You Need
Heading to the grocery store for your weekly shopping? Heading out to the mall to grab lunch with a friend? Only take the cash you need based on what you’ve budgeted.
So, if you’ve budgeted $100 for groceries, hit up the ATM and get $100 cash out. Throw that $100 in your wallet and leave all of your credit and debit cards at home.
Yeah, you read that right. LEAVE YOUR DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS AT HOME!
Why? Well, think about it this way.
If you take $100 in cash to the grocery store because that’s what you’ve budgeted and that’s all you want to spend, what happens when you get to the checkout and find out that your total is $120?
You’re going to whip out your debit or credit card to pay for the difference, right? You’re not going to put $20 of merchandise back at that point. How embarrassing!
But if you leave your debit and credit card at home, I guarantee that you’re going to grab your calculator and add up everything in your cart as you put it in.
If you find out that you’re over your $100 budget, you’ll prioritize the items in your cart and begin putting things back.
If you ONLY have the cash to work with, you have no other option but to make it work. There isn’t an out. You’re forced to make the right decision. It’s so much easier to stop spending money when you don’t have the option to actually do it!
2. Think About Sales Differently
“I only buy things if they’re on sale!”
Have you said that before? As a financial coach, I hear it all the time.
Let me help you think about sales in a different way.
It doesn’t matter if something is on sale for 75% off. It’s still 25% on if it’s not budgeted for.
Here’s another way to look at it. If you buy ten items that are typically $100, but happen to be 50% off, that’s no different than buying five of those same items at full price.
If you’re “only buying things on sale”, that won’t matter much if the total number of items you’re purchasing increases as well.
This isn’t saying that you can’t buy something in the moment, but you need to be aware that the money is coming from somewhere. Something else is going to be underfunded if you purchase this item that wasn’t budgeted for.
3. Understand The Consequences
If you go through the steps of creating a budget you’ll stick with, you’ll find out that there are consequences to your overspending.
Many of your financial goals will go unmet.
Your definition of financial freedom will never be reached.
Your plan to eliminate debt will never get accomplished.
If you understand the consequences of your bad spending habits, you can stop spending money on the things that don’t matter and start focusing on the things that do.
4. Visualize the Prize
Once you create some financial goals, put them in a prominent place so you have to look at them each and every day.
This will continually remind you of WHY you’re cutting back on expenses and/or sacrificing some things that are difficult.
If the list isn’t enough, add a picture of something you’re striving to achieve.
Looking to buy a house? Print off a picture of something you like in your neighborhood and tape it on the refrigerator.
Want to be able to pay for your kid’s college expenses one day? Photoshop a picture of them with a graduation cap and place it in your wallet in front of your credit cards. That way you’ll always have to look at it before making a purchase.
5. Sleep On It
If you’re looking to make a purchase, force yourself to think about it before pulling the trigger.
Put the item back and only come back to it after you’ve had time to let it sink in.
Some people have suggested 24 hours while others suggest even 30 days if it’s over a certain amount.
What you’ll find is that most purchases are impulses and you don’t really need the item. But if it’s something that you can truly fit in your budget, you’ll still be able to purchase the item, but only after giving yourself some time to think it through and make adjustments.
6. Shop With a List
What happens when you go to the grocery store mid-week because you ran out of milk?
Do you come out with a rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, grapes that were on sale, and several other items? You may have even forgotten the milk!
When you go shopping without a game plan, it’s really easy to go crazy.
If that sounds like your life, you may need to start shopping with a list. The list will help you stop spending money on things you don’t need.
So before entering the store, write down the things you need and stick only to that list when shopping. If you need even more help, revisit tip #1 above.
If you have trouble sticking to a list, find someone who can.
Send your spouse who follows instructions with great detail. Send your teenage daughter whom you’ve trained well.
7. Borrow or Trade
If you need something for a special occasion or will possibly only use it once, consider borrowing that item or trading something you no longer need with someone else that has the thing you want.
For example, if a tree fell down on your property and you want to take care of it yourself, you can rent a chainsaw from The Home Depot. Maybe ask your neighbor if you can borrow theirs.
If you get invited to a fancy gala event, you can borrow clothing, jewelry, handbags, and more online. You might have a good friend that will let you borrow something of theirs.
Why spend extra money on something you’re only going to use/wear once? Why take up extra space in your home to store it? Stop spending money on wasteful items!
8. Know Your Weaknesses and Avoid Them
When you go to the mall, do you always end up spending way more than anticipated?
Maybe you went to meet a friend for a smoothie but ended up buying some shoes, a nice new jacket, a soft pretzel, an ice cream cone and to top it off, you had your eyebrows threaded.
That’s definitely NOT what you went there for.
So if your weakness is the mall, avoid it at all costs. Why put yourself through that?
I’m not saying that your weakness is the mall. Heck, yours could be the cheese deli at the grocery store for all I know.
Just know what makes you weak in the knees and stay away.
If you have a weakness for marketing, it may be a good idea to unsubscribe from as many email lists and catalogs as you can.
To unsubscribe from promotional emails you get from companies, click on the “Unsubscribe” button you’ll find at the bottom of every email (they’re required to have it).
Catalogs are the tough ones as it can be hard to figure out how to get rid of them. Try a site like this to simplify your task.
10. Tell Your Family and Friends
If you’re trying to avoid your weaknesses, letting your family and friends know is a good idea.
Trust me, trying to avoid the mall and having your friends want to go there all the time makes things tricky.
It’s even more difficult if you’re watching them spend money when you’re trying to figure out how to stop spending money.
Having a quick conversation with them about your issue is no big deal. You can even phrase it to look like you’re being responsible.
Hey Jane. Do you mind if we start hanging out at my house instead of the mall? I’m trying to save for my kitchen remodel and you know how I get at the mall!
Pretty easy right?
If they’re truly your friend, they’ll understand and support your decision.
11. Inventory What You Own
Have you ever gone to the grocery store, bought something and then discovered that you already had it in the pantry at home?
Yeah, it happens.
To control spending at the grocery store, take an inventory of the items you already own to ensure you’re not duplicating purchases.
A good tip is to take a picture of the contents of your refrigerator and pantry with your phone before heading to the store. Not sure if you’re out of ketchup? Check the pictures!
You should also keep a running inventory of the fresh stuff in your refrigerator.
Use a site like Still Tasty or Eat By Date to create a list of the fresh items you have so that you can make sure you eat everything before it goes bad.
So if you’re trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, you can check the list to see if there’s something you need to use ASAP before you can no longer eat it.
If you struggle trying to figure out what to cook based on what you already have, try a website like Supercook. Supercook is a recipe aggregator that searches multiple recipe sites to help you create a recipe based on the items you have in stock. It can also help you piece together ingredients you didn’t think about.
12. Place Reminders In Your Wallet
When you’re learning how to stop spending money, you need to realize that you’re creating new financial habits.
So in the initial stages of making a change, bombard yourself with reminders.
For starters, try taping reminders on your debit/credit cards.
Take a piece of paper, put the phrase “Do I Really NEED This?” on it, and then tape it to your credit and/or debit cards.
I guarantee it will make you second guess the impulse purchase you’re about to make.
It’s also a little embarrassing if you have to hand it to the cashier. They might ask you if you really need it. :-)
13. Reward Yourself
If you’re working on eliminating some bad spending habits, start rewarding yourself for a job well done.
Every time you find yourself not spending where you would have in the past, take 10% of the money you would have spent and put it in a jar.
After a few weeks, take that money and spend it on whatever you want. It’s something to look forward to!
14. Budget In The “Fun Money”
Fun money is defined as guilt-free spending.
When you create your budget each month, be sure to budget for “fun money” and then spend it on whatever you like.
You could even use the money from the previous tip as your “fun money”!
This process will help because you’ll realize that you can still spend money on things, but you just need to limit your spending so you can meet your other goals.
15. Budget Proactively
This next tip comes with a waiting period. As I’m writing this (January 2021), the following app/program/bank is still in testing. But when it’s available to the masses, I think it’s going to help a tremendous amount of people. Maybe even you.
Before I mention the app, I want to point out my mission. This is to let you know that this company did not pay me to talk about them and I do not make any money if you click on a link to their website.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about Qube Money.
Qube Money is essentially a bank and budgeting program built into one package.
So, what’s the big deal? I’ll let them explain it.
Being FORCED to load your card and look at your budget every time you spend? That’s a game-changer.
Sure, you can try to be proactive while using other budgeting programs, but a requirement to look at your budget before you spend is a tremendous behavioral change that many people need in order to stop spending money they don’t have.
So, if you’re interested in their product be sure to sign up for notifications on when they’re ready to launch.
Your Bad Spending Habits Won’t Change Overnight
Let me start off by saying from personal experience; you’re not going to change your bad spending habits overnight.
Just as it took you several months or even years to create the habits, it’s going to take some time to learn how to stop spending money.
So, if you’re trying to go from spending $800 on groceries per month to $400, don’t be discouraged if you spend $750 in that first month after making changes.
There’s no way you can make that drastic of a change that quickly.
Even a slight change in your habits can have a lasting effect.
As I like to say, inching forward is still moving forward. Take that progress and continue toward success.
Now start taking care of your money, so it can take care of you later.
Your financial coach,