Not spending money is hard.
It’s like everyone is out to get you and your wallet.
When driving you get hit with ads. When you’re at home there’s a bunch of commercials filled with food. And when scrolling through your phone, there’s usually somebody promoting something.
For years they got me and my money. And while I like spending money, I’ve become more frugal.
Instead of spending, I focus on saving and my future over food and drinks now.
I write about money and how our mindset influences our relationship with money. And when I learn something new about money I like to share it.
This post is all about how we can reign in our bad spending habits using a process that’s worked for me.
The first step to spending less money is becoming aware you have a spending problem.
You might not want to admit you like spending money. But your bank account and monthly statements don’t lie.
So when you get a chance go ahead and take a look at your current balance and statement. They’ll tell you something.
A story about your money.
And it usually goes like this: You get paid. And boom before you know it, you have no money left.
You’ve spent it all. If you’re a big-time spender then you’ve most likely spent more than you got paid. Your credit card might even have a balance and you’re now in debt.
And when I’m in debt, anxiety sets in.
When anxious I spend more money trying to make myself “feel better”. But that feeling never lasts too long. An, in the end, this leads to me feeling stressed out about money.
So yea… admitting my spending problem was the first step to recovery.
If you currently have a spending problem your first step should be admitting this as well.
Because if you don’t, you’ll keep wondering why you’re broke and have trouble managing your money.
The second step you can take to spend less money is asking “why”.
Why are you spending so much?
Changing your behavior is easier when you understand why you spend on the things you do.
Buying electronics, clothes, and food most likely makes you feel good. But this urge to spend only reinforces bad spending habit.
A habit of consumerism.
You start buying things because of how they make you feel.
And if you’re not careful you could end up running out of space to put all that stuff. In fact, I had this problem when I moved into an apartment for a new job.
The new apartment was smaller. And I had too much stuff. I ended up renting a storage locker from the property manager for $15 a month because I had nowhere to put it.
So yea, once again don’t be like me. If you have a spending problem ask yourself why. Spending more money is not a solution to your problem.
Break your bad consumer spending habits.
Create a Money System
The next step is to actually stop spending so much money. Which is a great goal.
But how are you going to do this? What is your system?
If you’re like many there isn’t one. You don’t have a system. And that’s a major problem. If you don’t have a system in place to stop you from spending money, nothing will change.
You will continue to spend your hard earned money. Or you can create and use a system. One that works for you and helps achieve your goal of spending less money.
And the best system I know and use each month is a budget.
But you don’t like that “B” word. And I know because up until recently, I wasn’t a big fan of budgeting either. Budgets sound restricting but they’re not.
Budgeting can be fun.
Yet, you most likely don’t budget because you haven’t found a budgeting system you like or one that’s worked for you yet.
But when you do find a budget that works, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
If used budgeting will give you more control and more options than you’ve ever had before. From spending to saving and investing your money, there’s a budget out there for you.
When I started budgeting each month, I had a game plan for my money.
A system that was working before I could ever spend a dollar of my hard earned money.
With my newfound system, I was spending less on things I didn’t care about. And more on what I enjoyed and wanted to achieve in a few years later.
Which meant less spending.
Less spending on electronics, subscriptions, and things that were no longer serving me.
Instead, I used the money I would’ve spent to get myself out of debt, build an emergency fund and start saving for my future. So…
Find a system that works for you. One that will help you control your spending. For me that’s budgeting. Budgeting each month has lead to smarter spending habits.
It lets me know where my money is going and what each dollar is going towards. Without a budget, you’ll likely spend more than you were planning. And later on, when you’ve come to your senses, you’ll start to wonder where it all went.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Budgeting allows me to take care of my bills and still have room for fun without feeling guilty or ending up in debt. And it can do the same and work for you too.
You can make budgeting as simple as writing everything down on a piece of paper. An excel spreadsheet. Or use a website and app like YNAB (You Need A Budget).
YNAB is what I use and it has yet to disappoint. Even though it costs me a little each month, I have saved far more over the years because of it.
It’s a system. My system.
If you don’t like those, there are others. All you have to do is some research and try a few out. Or as many as needed until you find the one you like.
If budgeting is not your style. Or goes against everything you stand for, there are other systems out there that work just as well.
For example, automation. It’s a system I hinted at above when I suggested you save before you can spend your money.
But I’ll have to cover that system in a future blog post. The most important thing right now is for you to find a system that works and one that fits your life.
Once you do, use it, stick with it, and check in on it at least once a month.
Change Your Money Mindset
After creating your money system the next step in the process is changing your mindset.
Spending Money Does NOT = Happiness
Sure money can buy you a lot of things. But it doesn’t buy happiness. Which is why you must transition away from someone who spends too much money to something new.
Become a saver and investor instead of a spender.
When you get paid you might pay your bills and spend on the different things you want. Saving and investing isn’t a priority for you. But they should be.
When you change your money mindset you’ll change your story.
Instead of spending, the first thing you’ll do when you get paid is save and invest your money. Paying your bills and spending it on things you can go without for a while can wait.
Changing your money mindset will also change your consumer habits over time. You’ll go from a spender to a saver and investor. Spending money will no longer be as satisfying as it once was.
And over time you’ll notice you rather watch your bank account and investments grow.
At least that’s what I like to do. When I get paid, I’m excited. I want to stash a percentage of my cash away in my investment accounts and watch it grow.
So make a decision.
Commit and change your money mindset and story to something new. Something that aligns with all that you want to do and achieve in the future.
Create New Money Habits
And finally, if you want to stop spending so much of your money you need to work on creating new money habits.
Your habits are your set point or regular tendencies to do one thing versus another.
And with money, you can either spend it, invest it, or give and donate it.
When you spend too much of your money instead of saving or investing, you’re one paycheck away from disaster.
Or getting yourself into debt.
And to stop this you must create new money habits. Something different from what you normally do.
Instead of spending too much money when you get paid or receive money, do one of the following:
- Let it sit in your bank account for as long as possible
- Wait until you get paid again
- Transfer it to another account at a different bank
- Use it to create or increase your emergency fund
- Invest it in a retirement account or a regular taxable account
Adjust your bad money habit (spending your money) to a new and better money habit.
Like saving or automatically investing your money. But whatever you do, don’t spend so much!
Do something, anything besides spending too much.
Even if this means implementing a no spending rule. Where you don’t buy anything until you’ve given yourself enough time to think about it.
And when you start using a tactic like the no spending rule, in time you’ll create a new habit. And a new story when it comes to you and your relationship with money.
But you must find a way and new habits that will replace your bad habits. You must go from a spender to a saver, investor and a giver.
And One More Thing…
You can do it!
I believe in you. If you keep trying, you will get better and better at not spending so much of your money.
It took me a while to stop blowing all my money and I had to learn a few life lessons the hard way. But I learned.
I was tired of not having as much money as I wanted left over each month. So I stopped spending it all. And if I can do it, so can you.
Just take action and spend responsibly.
Don’t spend just to spend or because you have money sitting around in your bank account.
Until next time! – Riley
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