So many people don’t know how to stop spending money, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. It was cool out for a September morning, and we were walking through the park on a fairly sad attempt to fit some exercise in. My friend, in a light sweater and shorts. Me, in a tank and capris. We were chilly. My friend turns to me and suggests warming up over coffee after our walk. I nod in agreement, but then hesitate. “I thought you were cutting back on coffee and meals out?”. That was the goal, anyway, of my friends. She wanted to start saving. She shrugged. “Yeah, I’d love to quit spending so much, but I don’t know how”.
I don’t get into it with her, but I suggest she google some tips and tricks, or at least find some motivation, to curb her spending and keep her hard earned cash in her pocket. She agrees. I tend to do that. I have conversations with my friends, offer no advice (I don’t think she wanted it), and then return to a blog to write about what I would have, should have, or could have told her. Here’s what I would have said, had I been more willing to discuss finances with her:
Stop Spending by Getting Addicted to Watching Money Grow
Something about watching your money grow in investments is very addicting. Once you see your money grow, you will want to keep putting money into your investment account. I stopped spending so much money when I started making $900/month in passive income. I started investing in Scottrade with $7 Online Tradesand stopped going out for coffee so often, because I could spend that $20/week on online trades and see that money grow so fast with compound interest. It’s addicting and if you make that initial change just once, and start investing your money, you’ll most certainly get addicted.
Just Stop Spending!
Yup, it’s that easy. Like smoking, gambling, and junk food addictions, cold turkey is the way to go. Just stop! Okay, so it’s easy in theory. That’s all that it takes.
Just like all weight loss requires is fewer calories and increased activity levels. Simple when spoken out loud, not so simple in practice. Why isn’t it simple in practice? Well, because we’re human. We’re humans with emotions and habits, with anxiety and stress. We turn to things like shopping, eating, and drinking to relieve our stress and regulate our emotions. More often than not, somebody who is truly shopping too much and needs to cut back is somebody that is coping with something. Whether that’s boredom or self doubt, here are some potentially easier ways to help yourself to begin the process of keeping your money in your pocket.
Avoid Spending Temptation to Stop Spending
You aren’t going to be very successful in not spending money if you surround yourself with things that you want to spend money on. I’m surprised that many people don’t recognize this. If you go to the mall to “window shop”, you may be successful when you are at the mall, but it showed you all of these things that you want. You could just go home and end up buying those things online. So yes, your window shopping session was a success, but you were just delaying the inevitable.
- Coffee shop spenders: stop going by coffee shops! Stop driving that way to work. Find another commute. No more putting your change aside for that
- Retail addicts: don’t even step foot in a mall. Avoid boutiques, shopping districts, or anything that will put you in front of retail goods
- Impulse buyers: don’t browse the candy sections. Don’t read the magazines. Tunnel vision, people. Look straight ahead!
Avoid temptation, otherwise you won’t be successful.
Motivate Yourself to Save and You Won’t Blow Your Cash
Rewards are great. People love rewards. Humans work better, more efficiently, and meet their goals more often when there is a reward at the end of the tunnel. Rewards don’t have to come in the form of an item. It could be a trip. Maybe you want to save money so you can get married. Maybe you want the peace of mind of having an emergency fund. Maybe you want to pay off debt so you don’t have to live check to check. Whatever the reason, find your motivation. Reward yourself at the end of the journey.
Trick Yourself into Stopping the Money Leak
I’m all for playing mind games with yourself. If I’m loving on a bag of chips a little too much, I ask my partner to hide them from me. If I’m spending too much money or if I have no choice but to enter a place of temptation, I leave all my methods of payment at home. Lower your limit on your credit cards. Freeze your cards in a block of ice. Transfer all of your discretionary spending budget into another account that you can’t access with your interac card. Do what you can to trick yourself into saving money.
Saving money isn’t that hard. You can save money by spending less on things that you need to spend on, or you can save money by spending nothing on things that you don’t need to spend money on. You can take a hybrid approach where you save money where you can. But either way, you have to stop spending on useless “stuff” to be successful in personal finance.
Have you curbed your spending at all? How have you been successful in not spending money?