Have you ever had the intention of not spending that much money during the month? You went and bought some groceries, but you are just so tired to cook at the end of the day, so you order out. The thought of stress brings up binge spending as you look for things that can bring back happiness into your life. Stop spending so much money.
As we look at spendings, we need to figure out how to stop spending money. It is the thing that may derail our financial goals or lack of goals altogether. We have something in life that may trigger us to continue spending, and the lack of discipline halts all progress.
What do we do? How can we change? These are two questions that someone has approached me with. That person wanted to know how to get rid of debt, but at first glance, I saw the first thing that person needed was to stop spending money.
Triggers that cause spending
We need to understand the why of spending money. Many people have things in life that cause them to spend money. It could be a part of their lifestyle, work environment, habits, or even stress. When we know what drives us to stress, we can change and make a difference in our lives.
One of the biggest triggers that cause us to spend money is stress. People do all sorts of things to relieve stress. They will drink, eat, go to the gym, or even do some compulsive buying.
Buying things is never a good stress reliever. It will create more stress, which will end up making more spending. The brief dopamine that you may get from buying things will not last as long. The more you buy, the less happiness comes from it.
We need to learn how to cope with stress better. Sometimes buying things will help, but try to find a more positive avenue to relieve this stress, like going for a walk or hitting the gym. If you know stress causes you to buy, it is time to try and change. The changes you make in your life now can help affect you positively in the future.
The lifestyle we live in can be a big trigger for spending too much money. If we can figure out that the lifestyle we are living can stop this, then that is a big way to stop spending money.
People are often living in a high spending environment with many people around them doing the same. It is that groupthink or Joneses mentality. If everyone else is doing it, you have to keep up.
That can be spending money on going out to eat all the time or even spending money on lavish vacations. It becomes part of who you are. Even if you cannot afford this lifestyle, it is hard to break these habits of overconsuming.
Does your lifestyle affect the way you spend money? If it does, it is time to stop and see if these things bring value to your life.
I mentioned the pressure you may feel in your lifestyle, but this comes from your friends, neighbors, and even family. We receive pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way, and live a certain way.
Lots of people want to keep up with their friends. As we look on social media we are tempted to buy something as we see friends and family living it up. If someone has a new car, you may feel the need to get a new car. If someone got a bigger house, the pressure to fit in would also make you want a big house. It is time to forget about comparing yourself to others and start looking at your habits.
Maybe your job or goals are different than your neighbors. You may want to live a life of frugality, but the pressure from friends becomes too much. This is the way you should learn how to stop spending too much money. We do not need to conform but rather think on our terms and create our goals and dream life.
It is time to keep track of what we spend. The time is now to learn better spending habits that will help us in spending less money.
How to Stop Spending Money: 11 Tips to Change Your Habits
1. Track Your Spending
One of the biggest things you can do is track your spending. Each month, write down all the things you may spend money on, and keep track of it on a spreadsheet or a notebook. If you have a calculation for how you are spending money, you will know how you spend your money. This is something I preach to everyone.
My wife and I have a shared google sheet in which we track our spending. It is an excellent way to see how our budget has been done throughout the month. We will know how we either increased our spending or decreased it even a year or two down the road.
It is always good to know where you are with your spending. When trying to figure out how to stop spending money, it is best to know how much you are spending on each category.
Are you spending too much on eating out? Is your lifestyle causing this amount of spending? Having the data can really help you make plans and goals.
2. Set up Financial Goals
Having goals is a great way to know how to stop spending money. Once you create your goals, you will want to achieve your goals. Achieving your goals is going to take the necessary steps.
Financial Goals are enormous with this. As we create goals of owning a house, having kids, or even planning for retirement, you must factor in the financial aspect of these things. It makes you brainstorm, plan, and strategize to accomplish these goals.
You will then create a budget. Make a 5-year plan followed by goals that are done weekly, monthly, and yearly to see the progress of your 5-year plan. Cutting spending will be paramount for this to occur. Having a higher savings rate can create opportunities for you to achieve your goals.
3. Learn How to Budget
Budgeting can be seen as a dirty word sometimes. People don't want to put items on their list for a budget. Being able to place your money in your budget is a great way to know where it is going. They are super necessary if you have issues spending. It is a way to create a plan.
Each item has a certain amount you can spend. If you can hold yourself accountable and create this budget, you will be able to live a more freeing life and accomplish your goals.
An excellent simple budget would be the 50/30/20 budget. This helps break down some of the items you may see in a regular budget, plus it will give you room to save.
4. Use Cash Envelops
Cash envelopes are another way to help curb these spending habits. One way to learn how to stop spending money is not having any money to spend. The envelope system doe that for you.
You split your money into different categories that are labeled on the envelopes. You put the allotted amount in the envelopes, and when that cash is gone, you no longer can spend until the next month. It is a simple and easy way to create a system of no spending.
No more cash means no more spending.
5. Think Before You Spend
Our money has a purpose. As we spend, we want to make sure that the cash is achieving our objective. The financial goals we set for ourselves are something we want to achieve. So being able to budget this money for the items we need is a great thing. So we need to think before we spend.
There can be a temptation to spend when we are out. The goal is to spend less to make sure it lasts for the long run.
We should not spend aimlessly because our heart desires that feeling and lets money exchange hands. We need to make sure there is a plan and purpose for every dollar.
The question you should ask is, “Do I need this?”
6. Never Shop Without a List
A list is necessary when you go out shopping. What is the point of going shopping if you have no idea what to buy? That is when people get into trouble; they go aimlessly and try to buy everything.
It is like the saying, “never go to the grocery store when you are hungry.” As we see things we feel we may need, it may bring on the need to want. The list can curb those spending habits. If it is not on your list, do not buy it.
7. Stop Eating Out for Lunch
One thing that use to get me into trouble is to eat out for lunch. You can bring a lunch to work, but do not be lazy about it and forget it. Once you forget your lunch at home the only other option is dining out. This will be wasting some of your money.
Sometimes we buy a lunch too because it is a way to get out of the office. It can also be a way to hang out with colleagues.
If you want to know how to stop spending money, stop eating out for lunch. Getting out of the office can be as easy as eating your home brought lunch in your car. Trust me; I use to do this. I needed a place to go, and I either chose to go to a park or eat in my car.
Bringing your lunch can cut down on your spending.
8. Realize Your Triggers
We talked about what people's triggers are. Now it is time to realize what triggers you to spend. If it is stress, find a healthy alternative. Lifestyle starting it, change the way you live to help accomplish your goals. When we figure out what causes us to spend, we can figure out how to stop spending money.
9. Manage Your Subscriptions
In this world we live in, there are so many things that companies are doing to try to get ahold of our money. Gyms are a great place where you sign up for a subscription and disappear for two years, paying every month without even using it. Often, we are afraid to break the contract, so we keep it.
There are now subscriptions on streaming content like Disney + and HBO Max. These subscriptions can really eat into our budgets and cause us to spend so much money. Amazon is a big one as well.
Take a look at which subscription brings you value in life. Get rid of the ones that don't and live a better life, not wastefully spending money.
10. Meal Plan for Food
With every plan we have, we can save some money. Being able to meal prep is one of the best things. You can plan meals for the week and only go to the grocery store to help fulfill this plan. There is no need to do extra shopping. Eating out is not necessary as well.
Having a plan is necessary in accomplishing your goals.
11. Do a No Spend Challenge
Last but not least is a no-spend challenge. People enter into these challenges to see how long they can go without spending money. Is it one day? Can you last a week? It is incredible how much you can cut from your spending once you challenge yourself to do it.
Try out a no-spend challenge. The challenge will create that will to know how to accomplish no spending. You realize you do not have to spend to be happy. Life will take care of itself.
We have heard it before that many people go month to month living paycheck to paycheck. Financial people out there like Dave Ramsey try to knock people in the head to get some sense into them. This method works for some but not all. It is something that halts any progress to living a life without the worry of money.
How to stop spending money is something I have seen in many people. They ask me and give them tips and advice, but it is up to you to make the change. It would be best if you planned it out, track those spendings, and make sure that each time you spend, you are doing it because it brings value to your life.
If you can stop spending, then you can start living. Life shouldn't be wrapped up in a stressful paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. It would be best if you lived with the freedom not to have to worry about money again one day. It starts now.
Do you have trouble with spending money?
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.
9 thoughts on “How to Stop Spending Money: 11 Tips to Change your Habits”
All great tips, especially “Think Before You Spend”. There is always a knee jerk reaction to buying stuff that you think it will be a great purchase, then you end up rarely using it. Taking a few days to think about how much you really “need” something vs. simply “wanting” it always helps me.
That is one of my favorites too. People get excited about a purchase, but you really have to know if this thing is useful, brings value, and you will not a feeling of regret after the purchase. So it is better to think before you spend to know if you will truly need it.
You really don’t realize how much your environment affects your spending until you work hard to be mindful of it. Stress and social pressure are huge, you’re odd if you don’t spend a lot to make yourself ‘happy’.
Of course this can lead you to not want to be friends with your money illiterate friends after a while…
It is amazing to think about how people around you can interact. If everyone is going out every night, you will feel more inclined to do the same. Once you learn it is easier to not hang out with those that not living the same life you are living.
I always love to every six months or so look at my entire expense picture in a spreadsheet and see what we are spending and where and how it’s changed year over year.
I do this with Personal Capital data now, but previously I would go look at a CC report by category and combine that with expenses form our checking account.
Anyways this is a good way to get a real feel for where your subscriptions may have increased and then I call and ask them to lower it or consider if we can cut it.
But it all starts with tracking and taking the time to audit. Once you have your baseline it’s easier to work to stay on track!
Tracking our expenses has been a great thing for us. We know how much we spend on certain items, and we can also see how prices have gone up. As long as we are within our budget we can spend on some fun things as well. It is all about knowing where your money is going.
Great post! It is amazing how much those around us can be one of the biggest triggers for overspending. I think practicing gratitude all the time is one of the best defenses against that!
Cash envelopes are such a good way to start your budgeting! Or sinking funds if you want to keep them electronic.
Really worked for me when I first started my budget way back when.
Thinking before spending is so important, ‘does this align with my values and future goals?’ is what I normally as myself.
Thanks for sharing as always Steve!
Cash envelopes help out a lot of people. Plus having a sinking fund can also help. I have seen some banks create a cash envelope type savings account. So you can’t go wrong with do that to help stop spending money.