Do you feel like you spend more than you should? Here’s How To Stop Spending Money On Things You Don’t Need.
It’s so easy to spend money. So easy.
Whether it’s putting something you don’t really need in your grocery cart, or Forgetting to skip a Subscribe and Save shipment, or paying a fee you didn’t realize you didn’t need to pay.
It’s all too easy to spend money on things you don’t need.
But you want to stop.
Because getting your spending under control, and having a purpose for every dollar is how you get ahead financially, even if it’s little by little.
Frivolous spending is how you perpetually stay behind, on that treadmill to nowhere.
Sometimes it’s bad habits, sometimes it’s simple oversights, but the question remains: how to stop spending money on things you don’t need.
This is a question I’ve personally been battling with for the last several months as I’ve committed to putting a high percentage of our income into our investment fund – how do I find more ways to free up money?
The First Step Is Getting Your Mindset Right
You have to commit to stopping spending money on things you don’t need. It doesn’t matter how many times you say you need to spend less money, you have to take action.
You have to be willing to work at it. Get off of automatic pilot and start really thinking things through before you make a purchase or just assume that a bill is necessary.
Several months ago, I started noticing a $4.99 charge from Amazon every month. I couldn’t figure out what it was for, or how to stop it, so I just let it go.
When I started working on tightening up leaks in our spending, I finally found the motivation to get to the bottom of that monthly charge. It turns out one of us had signed up for a free HBO trial and never canceled it.
Commit to accounting for every dime that gets spent, and find out if it’s a good expense, or just money down the drain.
The second facet to getting your mindset right is losing the entitlement mentality.
When you feel entitled to spend money frivolously, saving money and learning how to stop spending money on things you don’t need is really hard.
You start to feel deprived and like life is treating you unfairly.
But it’s not.
You have a certain amount of resources, and what you do with them is up to you, so you have to learn to make the choice to cut the spending in a frivolous area if getting ahead is your goal and recognize that the world doesn’t owe you a daily Starbucks (or whatever your guilty pleasure is).
If you want to save money, invest, and get ahead, it all starts with a mindset.
Not a second or more lucrative job, mindset.
So with that said, what is the practical application that tells us how to stop spending money on things you don’t need?
Go over your bank or credit card transactions with a fine-toothed comb every month
- Get the bottom of purchases you don’t recognize (like that accidental HBO subscription)
- Look for purchases you wish you hadn’t made – and commit to doing better next month
Create a budget
My friend Jessi has some fantastic resources on how to create a budget that works for you so that you can account for every dollar spent and maximize your savings.
While I may not be the budgeting pro Jessi is, I 100% agree that having a budget is key to getting your finances on track for the long haul, and transferring only the money I’m allowed to spend into my checking account every month is key to financial success for me.
Cut Off Access To Savings
Our emergency funds, savings funds, tax funds (we’re self-employed)… in short, every dollar that isn’t slotted to be spent this month stay in savings accounts that aren’t so easy to access.
This keeps us from doing stupid things like saying, “well, sure, it’s retirement savings, but this vacation (or pair of new boots) sure sounds nice!”
I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given was that you can’t live in a vacuum. If you take something away, you have to replace it with something else. Of course, the person meant it in a completely different context, but I think it can be applied to almost anything.
- If you cut your cable subscription, you have to find something else. Maybe Hulu is your best alternative (Get a free 30 Day Trial here), or maybe you can find something for free. Or, in the context of giving up TV altogether, you still need a replacement – such as books, games, or a hobby.
- If Starbucks was your jam, maybe learning to make fancy coffee or tea is a good replacement for you.
- Maybe learning to make nice dinners can replace eating out, or simply learn how to save money at restaurants.
And the list goes on, but the point is, you have to find alternatives to the habits that cost you money.
I think this is really key to learning how to stop spending money on things you don’t need. Similar to recovering smokers chewing gum.
Finding alternatives to spending money is going to require creativity, but once again, if your mindset is right, you will find the challenge doable and maybe even enjoyable!
Similar to finding budget-friendly date night ideas – it can either sap the romance right out of it, or be a fun challenge – it all depends on your mindset.
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We have had to learn to wait if it’s not needed. I ask around and check free places first. Then I buy used if I still need it. Then if that’s not possible I buy new after researching the price. It has saved so many unnecessary purchases.