- Organize and Budget Your Money
- Understand Your Spending Triggers
- Time of Day
- Peer Pressure
- Switch to a cash-only diet.
- Stick to Your List
- Stay Home
Have you ever started off the month with the best of intentions to save money – buying only what you need, steering clear of the sales displays, and trying to watch your spending? And then, despite your best efforts, it just seems to happen. Before you know it, you’ve spent more money than you wanted to. Don’t beat yourself up, it happens to many of us, so before you get your next credit card statement and wonder how to stop spending money, read on for some of the best tips around!
Meanwhile, as shopping sites such as Amazon continue to dominate, the opportunities to spend have gotten increasingly attractive.
If you open your browser, you’re met with many ads offering products that fit your unique set of interests. You may find yourself caving in month after month and buying things you don’t need.
And now, you’re ready to stop.
1. Organize and Budget Your Money
This is the best first step that you can take to take control of your money – instead of your money controlling you.
A budget may not sound like the most fun thing in the world, but I promise that you will start to love it when you see how it will help you.
When you’re overspending, you might feel like your finances are all over the place – but a budget can help you to sort that out. You might not even realize how much you spend each month.
It’s easy to lose track of purchases. Spending $50 on clothes at a store might not seem like a lot, but purchases add up. Without realizing it, you could spend $100s extra each month just on what you think are small purchases.
We’d highly recommend you go through your bank accounts for the last few months and write down all of your expenses. It will really make your spending habits hit home.
2. Understand Your Spending Triggers
In many cases, knowing how to stop spending money has to do with identifying the emotional and psychological triggers that cause us to spend. If you remove those triggers, you’ll remove the temptation and opportunity to overspend. So the next time you head out the door, keep these in mind:
Time of Day
Do you find that you have more energy during certain periods of the day? If so, shop during times when you have more energy and feel less stressed. You’ll make wiser spending choices and think more rationally when you’re relaxed and less pressured.
Are there certain environments that make you want to spend, or make you feel obligated to spend just because you’re there? Craft fairs, shopping malls, home shows, and even when you’re on holidays are all prime examples of times when you’re more likely to spend impulsively. So, take away the temptation by either steering clear of such environments, or only taking a few dollars with you.
Likewise, if you have a favorite store and you find yourself wandering through the aisles looking for great deals, do all you can to limit your opportunities to go there. If going to your favorite store is unavoidable, keep your money – and credit cards — safe from yourself (see more about this later).
Different moods and emotional states can alter our energy resources, making us more prone to impulse shopping. For example, if we’re upset, stressed or anxious we may seek some retail therapy to feel better. But instead of hitting the mall or your favorite internet shopping site, hit the gym or the park. Going for a walk or doing some exercise will do wonders for lifting up your mood. Other moods can tint your shopping with rose coloured glasses, and everything begins to look like a great deal.
What’s important is that you identify the moods that affect your spending behaviour, and to find ways to avoid shopping during moods that will cause you to impulse buy.
Do you tend to spend more money than you normally would when you’re hanging out with your friends? Even the most well-intentioned friends can be a bad influence on us, especially if they have bad spending habits themselves. If you can’t afford to eat, shop, and vacation the way your friends do, it’s okay to decline their invites.
Instead, suggest plans that won’t require you to shell out a lot of money. Meeting for coffee instead of brunch, exploring new hiking trails instead of checking out the latest concert, or having a potluck dinner at home instead of going out to a restaurant are a few money saving tips worth considering. You won’t be able to splurge on expensive vacations or fancy dinners, but you can still enjoy a fun social life without shelling out a lot of money.
Don’t be scared to let your friends know that you’re trying to spend less; perhaps they’ll help you on your journey, and some may even follow suite! What’s important is that you surround yourself with friends who will support you as you work toward your financial goals.
If you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle, it could be difficult to give up when you suddenly encounter a financial hardship. But, if your lifestyle ends up becoming bigger than your budget and you don’t know how to stop overspending your budget, you could end up in worse shape.
Your upbringing also has an effect on your lifestyle choices. If you grew up in a household where money was always tight, you may feel the urge to overspend to compensate for all the things you were deprived of growing up. Similarly, if you grew up in a household where money wasn’t an issue, you may feel compelled to spend money you don’t have in order to maintain the lifestyle you grew up with.
The easiest way to start living within your means is to create a budget, and to stick to it. You may have to sacrifice some creature comforts, but it will be worth it when you see your bank balance coming out of the red.
3. Switch to a cash-only diet.
While some people can use credit cards without racking up debt or spending too much, not everyone has the discipline, the desire, or the time to keep track of their purchases and their credit card balances. One way to avoid racking up debt is to switch to paying cash for everything – or at least all your purchases that fall within specific categories.
From there, they had to learn to stretch the cash they had for each category until the end of the month.
“If we were tempted to spend more than we had budgeted, we had to decide which category was going to take the hit for the overspending,” he says.
This strategy not only made them think about all their purchases, but it also made them stick with their monthly budget for the most part.
The bottom line: It’s much harder to overspend cash than it is to lose track with credit or even debit. For that reason, switching to cash-only or even the envelope budgeting method is a smart way to get yourself back on track.
4. Stick to Your List
Never leave home without a list, not just at the grocery store. If you’re going to the mall and only need some new underwear, stick to your list. Don’t let yourself wander and buy things that you don’t really need. You can use an app on your phone like Google Keep as a grocery list so it’s always on your phone. It’ll cut our so many purchases you didn’t need to make because you aren’t allowed to stray!
5. Stay Home
Have you ever heard of FOMO? Oh, FOMO is real. For those of you who don’t know what FOMO is, it stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. We see our friends every day having these awesome lives on Instagram and Facebook and we get really jealous and we want to be able to do it too. FOMO causes us to agree to going to events that we don’t really want to go to!
Staying home once in a while can help you stop spending money that you don’t have! You don’t need to go out drinking with your friends every weekend just because you might miss something, focus on your goals!