It seems so easy, live by a budget and work towards your goals. But is it? It can be very difficult for some people to implement a proper budget. We don’t like to be restricted and told we can’t have something but the fact is, if you need to be living on a budget to reach your financial goals you need to stop spending so much money!
My sister is notorious for justifying purchases she didn’t need to make. ”It was only $5.00”, ”It was on sale”…blah, blah, blah. I tell her it doesn’t matter that it was on sale or X amount of dollars, if it was something she didn’t need then it was a waste of money. She has no concept of really thinking about a purchase before making it. She decides she wants something and usually buys it. When she asked me how she can stop wasting her money I laid it out simply for her. I told her to do the same things I do.
1) Stop going into the stores
This is hands down the easiest way to stop spending money. You don’t realize how much money you spend just because you see something. My weakness is grocery stores. I have the food I need in the house for my two week meal plan but sometimes will pop in just to see what’s on sale and end up spending $50 on food we didn’t necessarily need. I work on one of Canada’s busiest retail streets, it can be tempting to wonder the stores during my lunch but I know it will either cause me to spend money I don’t have to waste or at the very least add to my ”want” list, neither of which I need. So, I do my best to stay out of stores. When I do go into a store I stick to a list and but only items I intended to buy.
2) Unsubscribe from all email listings
We all get those emails with crazy offers. One day online only sales! More than once I’ve been caught with a virtual cart full of crap I normally would not have gone to a store to buy just because of an email. It’s brilliant marketing really, but just doesn’t work for my budget right now. This is another example of ”out of sight out of mind”. If you never know about the email it won’t hurt you. If there is an item you’re looking to buy (for me, it was a new coat this winter) search for deals only after you have a list. Before we went shopping a quick Google search provided me with a $10 off voucher for the store I was aiming for and I declined to sign up for their emails upon purchase.
3) Shop consciously
This is a refined skill. I used to buy anything without really thinking about it. Today I’m on the total opposite end of the spectrum and probably overthink each purchase too much, but I’d rather be here then there. When you make a list of ”wants/needs” really think about each item. Going back to my winter coat purchase I knew I needed a coat but had other things to consider before going to the stores. I decided to get a sportier, yet non frumpy style jacket (think North Face style) over a dressier wool pea coat style. Since this would be my only coat purchase for a few years I needed something more versatile, still within budget, wouldn’t look silly while wearing to work in scrubs but still be OK on weekends with jeans and sweater.
I searched the online inventory of almost every store I thought we may head to before narrowing it down to two stores. I ended up buy a coat I had already seen online and it’s worked out perfectly. This saved me time shopping as well since I had done the leg work. Shopping consciously helps your time management and budget.
4) Don’t totally deprive yourself
I really think total deprivation will cause a budget to fail too. You’ll start to resent the restrictions on your lifestyle. Budget for a little fun just remembering to be realistic and think about what you’re spending your money on!
What do you do to stop spending so much money?