How do I stop spending money?
A question you might have asked yourself before or still do as you read this article.
Overspending is a common habit a vast majority struggle with and puts many people in tough financial situations, like with high-interest debt. Yikes!
But it can be challenging to stop spending because everything is so accessible. Thanks to technology, it makes buying something just a simple click away. Looking at you, Amazon!
And while I love the convenience factor, it’s incredibly easy to go overboard without even realizing it. So what is one to do?
Below, I’ll talk about how to stop spending money and tips to get you on a better financial path.
What Causes Overspending?
There is no one reason to blame for why our society trends to overspend. Sometimes it can be one singular reason and other times it can just be a combination that creates the perfect storm.
But, I think there are a few reasons we as a society tend to overspend.
Shopping and buying things can give you an adrenaline rush or a sense of happiness.
You’ve probably heard the term “retail therapy” before, but that’s not necessarily a good therapy session if it is hurting your pockets.
We see something we like and we must have it now. Then add to the fact that it distracts you from any stress in your life and you end up with a deadly financial combo.
Social Media Feeds
I work full-time in the social media industry, so I see the good it can do. But there is also problems it created, whether intentional or unintentional by the creators.
But social gives use immediate access to what brands have to sell and what our friends are doing.
We fear missing out, we want to keep up with what our family and friends have, we want to appear to have it all, and we want something that we see immediately.
Using Credit Cards
I’ve had a credit card since I was 18 and in the early days it was easy to swipe it often. Hey, I had a $500 limit at the time and that means I can spend more!
When you don’t actually use cash, it’s easy to be blinded by the use of the plastic knowing you have room to spend.
However, it starts to hurt when you see your credit card bill is maxed out and your paying 20-30%+ interest.
But, this doesn’t always stop people from continuing the same pattern. Again, credit cards are so convenient and easy to use without thinking.
While the other options you have a bit more control, some may have a shopping addiction. This is more challenging to overcome, but usually creates massive debt for the individual.
I’m by no means a licensed therapist, so if you feel you have this, please consult somebody. The tips below might help you, but there is more going on that needs to be addressed.
Never feel ashamed either, as you are not alone. This shopping addiction is called compulsive buying disorder and affects millions of adults in the United States (Source).
If you are looking for more information or resources to getting help, please read this healthline article.
Top Ways to Stop Spending Money
These tips below should be used to help you stop spending money.
That doesn’t mean you should never spend money every again or that you can’t treat yourself from time to time.
Instead, these can be used to help you improve your personal finances, help you escape living paycheck to paycheck, or just to help you stop any debt from growing.
1. Learn to wait before purchasing (sleep on it)
This will not happen overnight, but you’ll need to master self-control. What I’m talking about here is delaying gratification for the sake of helping your finances.
Instead of immediately purchasing something because you must have it, wait. Sleep on any purchases first or give yourself 24-48 hours and then decide.
Typically, the rush of wanting something will subside or you realize it’s not that important to buy right now.
2. Figure out why you are overspending so much
Sometimes, you just need to analyze your spending situation and life.
What is causing you to want to spend money all the time? Why must you feel the need to buy, buy, buy?
Maybe there is stress in your life that the spending calms that down. Or maybe you really just don’t realize how often you are spending money.
In order to stop spending money, you have to start looking for the root cause.
3. Legit track all your expenses
Many times the problem just stems from not understanding all your expenses. If you have no clue what monthly income you have and where your money goes, it’s easy to overspend.
And guessing or thinking you know, is not an option.
I thought I knew without writing anything down and then when I did run the numbers — I was quite surprised how far off I was.
Here, I was thinking I was spending less and should have money leftover — I was very wrong.
Get every expense and income in a list, then do some basic math. I always use spreadsheets and Personal Capital to keep tabs.
But there is plenty of free personal finance software that can assist your needs if spreadsheets are not your thing.
4. Leave the credit cards at home
One way to really stop spending money, is to leave the credit cards at home. When you go out, it’s easy and very tempting to spend if you have a credit card.
There is no real money value being seen, so swiping the plastic has no impact on you. That is, until you see the bill later and the interest you are accruing.
Another thing you can do is treat your credit card like it’s a debit card that is directly tied to your money.
If you can think of a credit card as not your money, then it may help you keep it in your wallet. This works depending on your current mentality, but if you think that won’t work then definitely leave the credit cards at home.
5. Avoid stores or online stores that trigger impulses
We all probably have a store or online store that we love. These are also the stores that get us in financial trouble and trigger our impulse to buy.
For many, it might be stores like Target, Costco, Kohls, or whatever.
And while those stores do have solid deals, if you can’t stop spending money then you need to avoid these places as best you can.
Sure, online shopping is challenging since the access and one-click is so easy. But if that is the case, delete your login or remove your credit card info to help stop quick purchases.
This won’t be easy as you will have to start training your willpower.
6. Create a savings challenge for yourself
I think one of the best things you can do is create a savings challenge for yourself. It keeps you focused on your finances and a goal that you have in mind.
Treat it like a game if you must, but I’ve found this to be really help in the early days. After I ran my own numbers back in 2014, I set a few different goals or “savings challenges” that I wanted to reach.
This kept me focused and determined, which helped me stop overspending. And even to this day, I still practice this in order to keep me financially focused.
How to Stop Spending Money On Food
Groceries and food are one of the essentials of life, but also can cause your spending to go out of control. I’m a foodie myself and love eating and trying new restaurants.
But this also got me into spending trouble a couple years back.
I’ve since toned that down and found a nice balance to stop spending so much money on food.
Here’s a few tips:
- Make your food at home, it’s much cheaper to do so.
- Pack your lunches for work, to not be tempted to go out.
- Online grocery shopping can help you stick to your list instead of going to the store and buying more items because of what is around you.
- Remove food apps that make ordering out easy. As much as I love the tech innovation, if you have food spending problem, delete these now!
- Budget your food and going out to eat and monitor each month to make sure you are on track.
- Couponing and signing up for bonus cards for the grocery stores can help you save.
- Buy food in bulk, meal prep, and invest in Tupperware for leftovers.
- Invest in a crockpot. It will change your life. Seriously.
How to Stop Spending Money On Clothes
While food is a common area for overspending, so can spending money on clothes. We all wear them (unless you are a practicing nudist) and fashion is a booming industry.
And it is easy to overspend on clothes, especially if you fear not being hip or trendy amongst your peers.
Ah there it is again, keeping up with others. That always seems to cause financial issues.
Anyway, here are some tips to help you stop spending money on clothing:
- Unsubscribe from retail emails so you aren’t tempted by their crafty marketing.
- Remove retail apps from your phone.
- Unfollow clothing brands on social media.
- Organize your closet to see what you probably didn’t realize you had already.
- Take care of your clothes and wash properly based on the tags to keep current outfits in great shape.
- Hit the thrift stores to find deals on well-known brands if you do need clothes.
How to Stop Spending Money On Credit Cards
Credit cards were mentioned a few times earlier in this article, but they really can cause some financial madness.
These plastic cards can be quite useful for establishing credit, helping your credit score if used wisely, saves you in case of immediate emergencies, and helps you get cash back or reward points.
But, it can also hurt your credit score and cause you to pay high-interest on recurring debt you are accumulating.
Here are some tips to help you stop spending money on credit cards:
- Only use credit cards if you have the cash to pay for it immediately.
- Leave the credit cards at home and only use cash for purchases if you can’t resist temptations of spending.
- Track your credit card debt and spending religiously, knowing the numbers keeps you focused.
- While credit card rewards are cool, don’t be tempted to spend to just try and get them.
- Do not sign-up for store credit cards, which can carry high-interest and tempt you to spend more to get any discounts.
When you stop spending money, you find that your finances are in much better shape. Now you have more to put towards your savings or now you can afford to invest more in your 401k or alternative investments.
It starts to feel good when you stick to your spending budget and are seeing your finances shine. When I saw these changes myself, it motivated me even further.
And no, I’m not living extremely frugal and yes I do spend money on myself from time to time.
It’s all about balance and self-control, but once you master that you won’t be asking yourself how to stop spending money again.How have you stopped spending money? Have any of these tips above helped you? What struggles do you have with overspending? Let me know in the comments below!