This is a sponsored post by CreditRepair.com. All opinions are 100% our own.
It’s one of those things that we don’t really like to admit: that we may have a spending problem.
The daily trips to Target where you plan to pop in for one thing but come out with bags of stuff, eating out all the time and feeling like you never have any money left are signs that you may want to look at how much you are spending.
It’s not as painful as it sounds! We can easily learn how to stop spending money, whilst still having fun.
Understanding WHY you are spending money?
The first part of changing a habit is understanding why you are doing it. And that’s all this is – a habit. Or a combination of habits.
This isn’t to make you feel bad.
If you are worried about your spending habits, it’s important to identify what’s going on.
It could be something as simple as boredom when you’ve got some free time, or it may go a little bit deeper in that buying things makes you feel better, and look at how to stop compulsive spending.
Keeping up with the Joneses
This is just as common today as it was when the term was first coined – but maybe even more so now!
In case you haven’t heard of the expression, it’s when you’re trying to keep up with your neighbors/peers/people who you are looking at.
We have things like Instagram and Facebook that we carry around all day with us that gives us access to how other people live – both our peers and celebrities etc. It’s hard to not compare yourself to it.
The best thing I can advise you to do? Unfollow everyone who makes you feel inadequate.
Realize that your life is a true blessing and remember that comparison is the thief of joy.
Having a bad budget or not budgeting at all
When we say a ‘bad budget’ we mean one that’s not realistic.
It’s all very well and good thinking that you are going to spend X amount, but if you are way off target, that’s not going to help!
Track your expenses and look up your monthly bills that go out. These are the numbers that you will want to work with. When you are wondering how to stop excessive spending, this will help you out.
Shopping for gratification
Do you shop because you feel happy, or sad?
The way that we spend money is based on emotion. After all, if we spent based on math, we would never have any money problems!
There’s proof that when we buy something, we get a small buzz, a thrill. Unfortunately, that buzz soon fades – but that’s why we keep spending – to get that buzz.
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.
2) Stop Using Credit Cards
If you can’t pay cash – you can’t afford it. It’s always tempting to put things on the credit card because you convince yourself that you’ll pay it off later.
But if you are serious about getting your spending under control, this is something that you need to try and do.
Used to swiping the credit card every day? It’s easy isn’t it – you just swipe and don’t have to worry about it.
It’s too easy – and that’s the way that it has been designed to be.
In order to stop using your credit cards, you could do some drastic things such as freezing them in a block of ice or cutting them up and throwing them away.
A good first step to take is to take them out of your purse and leave them at home.
If you’re like many Americans your credit score might be looking pretty scary. Since your credit score affects your daily life it’s important to get it under control and work on improving it.
We highly recommend reaching out to CreditRepair.com for help in getting your credit score repaired today.
3) Stop Eating Out
Wondering how to stop spending money on food? Food is a huge budget killer – but I get it, it’s nice eating out! It’s convenient, the food is good, you don’t have to cook it or wash up after.
But you will be paying for someone else to do all of this for you. It’s one of those expenses that you can dramatically reduce the cost from if you DIY.
This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing – but it can be good to go cold turkey.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t ever go – but if you plan for it and work it into your budget, it’s going to be much more organized than going out whenever you feel like it.
Restaurants charge a lot of money – you’re not just paying for the food, but the staff and the restaurant too!
If you take away those charges and just cook for yourself at home instead, you will save a lot of money.
4) Meal Prep and Bring to Work
It’s tempting to grab lunch out with your colleagues each day, but this could be costing you a huge amount of money.
What I like to do, is to think about how much it would cost me for that meal, vs how much I would pay for it from a store.
You don’t have to prepare the highest restaurant quality meals each day. Just things that are cheap, quick and easy to make.
Write down a list of the different meals and lunches that you could make, and then take the list to the grocery store with you.
The trick is to only buy the things that are on the list that will make the meals for you all for the week. If you batch cook as well (cook various meals all in one go and then freeze) this will save you a lot of time.
5) Focus on Your Financial Goals
What are your financial goals? Now is the time to have a sit-down and really think about what your goals are.
A lot of us are guilty of not doing this – but it’s so important. You need to have a focus and a goal or you will not be on track for completing it.
There are a bunch of different things that could be your goals – it’s personal to you. But make sure that you find the time – only needs to be 10 minutes if you are busy – and write down what’s important to you.
Do you have debt? If you look at the stats, you aren’t alone. The average American is now $38,000 in debt (not including home mortgages).
That’s a lot. Chances are, you might be one of these people too. It’s nice to know you aren’t alone, right?
Now that you realize that it’s ‘normal’ to be in debt, it’s time to shake off any of the negative feelings that you have about it. And make a plan of attack!
When you are making debt payments, that’s money that you’re earning that’s not yours. Getting rid of debt will mean that you will have a lot more money left for your goals instead.
It’s time to stop using the credit cards and telling yourself that you’ll “pay it off at payday”. We are a big fan of Dave Ramsey and his tips.
When it comes to financial goals, there is a lot that we need to save money for.
These could be things like:
- Family holiday
- Quitting your job
- Starting your own business
- Retiring early
All of these things will take money – work out how much you will need to save, and how much you are able to save each month.
Having a big, exciting goal will help to keep you motivated and stop spending so much. After all, that money can go towards your goals instead!
Have you thought about investing? It’s one of those things that isn’t really talked about that much, but it’s really important to do.
That money that you’re saving? If you aren’t earning interest on it, you need to. Prices go up with inflation all the time – but interest rates don’t necessarily match that.
If you have a goal of being comfortable in your retirement, investing is one of the best ways to make sure of that. A good place to start is maxing out your 401k.
6) Learn How to be Happy Living Frugally
When you’ve been spending money on whatever you want, whenever you want, it can be a bit of a shock to stop all of that.
It can also make you feel as though you are depriving yourself.
Frugal is a word that means different things to different people, but according to the dictionary it means “sparing or economical with regard to money or food”.
I get it though. Frugal living doesn’t sound exactly…fun. But that’s because we’ve come to associate spending money with having a good time.
What I have found personally though, is that when I cut back, I can see exactly what is important to me. Cutting back only needs to be temporary as well.
7) Cancel ALL Marketing Emails and Catalogs
If you’re searching for “how to stop spending money on clothing?”, remember – the goal of the email lists that you are signed up to are to get you to spend money.
They have huge marketing teams behind them that use psychology and things like discounts to keep you spending.
It’s tempting to keep them there in case you see any bargains or discounts, but they are just going to tempt you to spend instead.
You can always re-subscribe in time, but right now when you are trying to stop spending money – it’s time for these emails to go!
8) Trade and Barter Everything
Have you ever thought about doing this before? This can be a really great way to get something for nothing and help someone else out too.
You could exchange looking after a friends child for them looking after yours, to save on childcare costs – and the same with babysitting too.
Do you have a skill that you could trade for something else? For example, could you cut someone’s hair in exchange for them mowing your lawn?
9) Do Things Yourself
One of the areas to look at when you are cutting back on your expenses is to see if you can start doing things you normal
What I mean by that is, what do you usually pay someone else to do for you?
This could be things such as:
- Mowing the yard
- Car wash
- Pet grooming
- Dry cleaning
It’s oh-so-convenient to get someone else to do it for you, but if you can do it yourself, for now, it will save you a lot of money.
10) Consider the Real Value
When you’re deliberating over whether to buy something or not, it helps to think about how much it would cost you.
I don’t mean how much money it costs.
I mean how many hours you would have to work to pay for it.
Say you’re looking at a top for $50. Instead of thinking “oh it’s just $50”, have a look at how many hours you would have to work in order to pay for it e.g. it would take 3 hours of work to buy that.
Bonus – Challenge Yourself
One of the best ways to get yourself to do well is to set yourself challenges.
They can be whatever you want – maybe you won’t spend anything at all one weekend.
See how much you can cut back and live on. This helps you to see what’s important to you and what you want to keep in your budget.
Want to keep in your weekly coffee date with the girls because it makes you happy? Keep it. Want to keep your gym membership because you like the physical and mental health benefits? Keep it.
Make sure you challenge yourself to go without though and try out free or cheap variations first, to see if you prefer them.
If you feel like you’re spending too much money and you aren’t sure where to start, the best place to start is with tracking your expenses and identifying the areas in which you are overspending – and why.
It’s more of a psychological thing than a math thing – you will need to start up some positive habits and prepare yourself for those days when you are feeling a bit low and want to splash out.
It may take a bit of time, but with hard work and determination, you can change your spending problems.
Which of these do you think you’d like to try first?