There’s no need to stop spending for the sake of it. If you enjoy a cappuccino, can afford it, aren’t in debt and aren’t overpaying, sup away.
Yet as Dickens’ Micawber principle states:
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen ninety six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
Whether you need scaring into it, or tips on cutting back, this post will help tackle those spending demons by giving you 21 top tips to stop you spending!
Sleep on it
Let your brain do the final thinking while you sleep! If you really want something, hold on till the next day until you have had a good night sleep. You may find it doesn’t seem as attractive the next day!
Work out what it costs in work time
Impulse buying is a danger to your finances, and its sometimes best to think about your earnings in this situation. If you’re tempted by an impulse buy, work out how long it would take you to earn that money in hours worked. If it’s a lot, then it will make you think twice about making the purchase!
Focus on your debt/savings
Work out how much longer it will take you to pay off your debt or increase your savings if you give in. To put it into perspective, if you’re saving for a holiday think “that costs one day in Miami”…
Check if you’re leaking money via unused subs & payments
Many have costly subscriptions for gyms, mags, packaged bank accounts and more, yet rarely or never use them – or with time and home moves, forget about them altogether. First, check for regular payments going out of your bank account for services you no longer use – then CANCEL them. You may even be able to get a refund.
Then take it up a notch and ask yourself if you REALLY need it. Even if you DO occasionally use that pricey gym/Spotify/Netflix subscription, if you’re overspending right now it may be a luxury you can’t afford. Look for cheap alternatives!
Stop spending so much on food – plan, plan, plan
Set a budget, write a food plan and take a calculator with you when you go food shopping. And never go when hungry – it’s too tempting to overbuy. By going just once a month you’ll be less likely to buy on impulse and for convenience.
Leave debit/credit cards at home
Only take the cash you absolutely need with you and don’t have a cash card with you to take extra out of the hole in the wall. That way, however tempted you are, you have to walk away in the end.
Avoid temptation – don’t go shopping
If you don’t go to the shops, you can’t be lured by nice things. Stay at home – simple as that! If you like to while away your leisure time by going shopping, do something else instead! Keep busy and you won’t be tempted to get out your wallet.
For every new thing you buy, try to get rid of an old thing
If you really want to buy something new, see if you can sell something you don’t use any more to cover the cost.
Make a list and stick to it
Always make a shopping list before you go to the stores and see tempting goodies. Then once you’re out – don’t stray from it.
Try online grocery shopping
If you can’t stick to a shopping list, try ordering your shopping online. It’s easier to stick to a budget as you get a running total, plus you won’t be tempted by the sights and sounds in the shop
Keep a list of your debts/savings targets in your wallet
Every time you open your wallet for a potential purchase, you’ll be reminded of why you shouldn’t be spending money.
Get free sofas, coffee machines, baby clothes & more on Freecycle
If you really need to replace something, try Freecycle or take up offers of hand-me-downs from friends and family.
Think of your credit card as a debt card
Remember until you pay it off, you’re spending the bank’s money not yours. Think of it as a debt card and you might not be so hasty reaching for your wallet (also ensure the debt is as cheap as possible).
Make it a challenge to come up with creative nights out or in on a budget. It could be a picnic in the park or a movie night at home. Or if there’s something particular you want to buy, see how quickly you can raise the funds through extra means.
Start a new hobby
Spend time on a new (free) activity like running or do some volunteer work. This leaves less time for spending.
Pay yourself pocket money
Set up another account for bills and use this to make sure all your bills are paid. With the money left over you can pay yourself a set amount which is yours to spend as you like.
Stash your shrapnel to save
Stick loose change in a savings jar. You’ll be less likely to break a note to spend and once the change has built up, pay it into your account or off a credit card.
Take a packed lunch to work – keeps you out of harm’s way
It’s an old one but a good one, making a packed lunch doesn’t just stop you being tempted by expensive sandwich shops, it also keeps you from the pub or easy trips out with friends where money flows out.
Keep a debt diary
Write a note of when you’re likely to overspend. If you can identify trends that lead to overspending, you might be able to prevent them or vent in some other way.
Make your own at home
Whatever your vice is, whether it’s pizza, beer or frothy cappuccinos, try making it at home for a fraction of the cost.
Take the ‘No-Spend Day’ challenge
Once or twice a week have a day where you spend nothing other than budgeted-for things. Quite often just spending once can break the cycle for the rest of the day.