How To Stop Spending So Much Money

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?

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17 thoughts on “How To Stop Spending So Much Money

  1. Stopping from going is huge! When I was bored, I would go to the mall just to window shop. Most times I would be walking out with something that I didn’t need. It’s the same analogy with eating. Many times we overeat simply out of boredom. I was buying things out of boredom. Don’t even tempt yourself by going to the mall or stores. Walk in the park instead or read a book!

  2. I agree that total deprivation is bound to fail. I’ll admit I’ve never been to that point in my life but it seems that blessing yourself with a little spending fun will keep you from resenting your budget. We try to plan a little bit of fun for the family each month.

  3. When you go to the store, without a specif purchase in mind, it is a recipe for a spendthrift. Go to teh store with a purchase in mind, and buy it. Don’t buy a bunch of other stuff.

    Clothes are a huge waste. As is junk food. Beer is OK.

  4. I finally started unsubscribing from email lists. I had good intentions of following the sales but then I realized I was shopping just to get a sale price – not necessarily when I needed something.

  5. I’ve been trying (with some luck) to only use cash for the “extra” stuff. Once rent, bills, and groceries are paid for, I take out some cash to spend on entertainment, fast food, and/or shopping. Once that’s gone, no more shopping. I’m not a big shopper to begin with, but fast food is what usually gets me. I think this method could work a lot better for me if I took it more seriously – it’s been more of an concept/aspiration than a reality.

  6. When I stopped going the mall and department stores “just to look” was when there was a REAL turning point in my finances years ago. It’s like you don’t even notice how you’re spending $10 here and $25 there on a “deal” that wrecks your finances.

    I’ve also noticed that DVRing all TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials also helps prevent the same “ooh, I need that” mentality.

  7. The online emails are annoying to me only because I DON’T make purchases impulsively from them haha. They have given me some good ideas about how low things will go before they “bottom out” price-wise, but yeah I wouldn’t recommend them if you are an impulsive shopper.

  8. I try to stay out of any trigger stores (like Target & Nordstrom Rack), unsubscribe from lists from groupon and living social, and like you, really think about purchase over $10. And really, really think about purchases over $100.

  9. Great tips. I’d even say stop watching as much TV. It’s insane how much influence those advertisements really can have over us. And find a good list of free things to do when you’re bored. It will save you from aimlessly shopping.

  10. I really need to unsubscribe from the email lists. I don’t spend very often, but when I do I’m always lured in by some free offer…that requires an excessive amount of shipping charges.

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