The easiest ways to stop spending unnecessary amounts of money on stuff:
I am a saver by nature. It also helps that I hate shopping.
The lights, the aisles, all the stuff…I don’t enjoy it.
The easiest way to stop spending money is to stop shopping! But how do you accomplish that?
- Turn off the television: The number of ads and commercials in a 30 minute TV broadcast is terrible. Some ads are only 15 seconds long, which means there can be MORE product commercials during the commercial break. Talk about information overload.
Do you watch reality TV and think you deserve that new item or I have to have that ‘look.’ Reality TV is probably the worst. We should not be trying to live up to these people and their material possessions.
Do your kids watch cartoons on the weekend? Have you ever watched those commercials? They are marketing directly to your children! “Cool kids need the new cool glow in the dark toy or the pillow that is attached to a blanket!”
You will stop wanting ‘stuff’ if you stop watching TV.
(We are not lucky enough to be able to stream shows online but when we do watch TV we record our shows and fast forward through those darn commercials!)
- Take your credit card information off the sites you shop on! It is so easy to fill up your cart when you know all you have to do is hit ‘pay’ and your credit card information is there. If you had to get off your couch and enter in the information every time you needed it, would that extra step slow you down from spending?
- Live by the rule: If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it. (Dave Ramsey said this. He is not someone I follow, but it is one of the most genius personal finance quotes to live by!)
Are you thinking about putting those new boots on credit and worrying about paying it next month?
This vicious cycle will not stop with just that pair of boots or cup of coffee.
Don’t live your life on credit because of material possessions.
Do not buy something unless you have the money for it. If you can’t take cash out of your checking account to buy it, walk away from it.
*I like to use rewards credit cards for certain purchases. Why not take advantage of 5% off. But if I do not have the cash to pay off that credit card immediately, I do not buy it!
- I only go into a store when I know I need something.
How do I know I need that item? I write it down on a list!
Some items are on the list for a day or two, others for months until we have saved enough money to pay cash for it (Refer to #3).
I have a ‘Shopping List’ for everyone in my family. I keep it in the memo app on my phone so I can look at it every day if I want to and I can update it easily. My shopping lists are: Me, The Hubby, The Kiddos, Groceries (I have a tendency to think about something I need when my grocery list is out of reach but my phone is not), and The House.
Some items are: A stainless steel pasta pot for me, floss, new undies for the kids, a new doormat for the house, and a new tractor for the hubby.
I will buy floss when I am at the grocery store the next day. I am not going to go to the store just for a pack of underwear; I want the trip to be worthwhile (remember I hate shopping). Do I really need to replace the doormat already? The new tractor will be on the hubby’s list for a loooonnnngggg time….
You can use good ‘ol pen and paper too. Just write it down. Keep the list somewhere you can see it. Use it as motivation.
Tip: Big purchases should have a goal attached to them. I have saved $50 towards my $150 boots!
The power of Lists:
When you go into a store only buy what is on the list!
*This can be especially helpful in the grocery store. If you are trying to cut back on your cookie addiction, do not write ‘cookies’ on the list, as you walk down the snack food aisle, use your willpower and stick to the rule. You should be so proud of yourself for leaving it off the list and out of your cart.
Is your list really long? Prioritize your list:
What is a want vs. a need? – (You probably learned this in elementary school!) Is this item something you can’t live without? Like food. Or just something you really want? The stainless steel pasta pot! (It is not a priority for me to have this pot. Just something I will get when the time is right.)
Do you have short term vs. long term items? –The kiddos will grow out of their current undies within the next few weeks, which is when I will buy them new ones! The tractor for my hubby will be on that list for a long time (unless we win the lottery, then it is our first purchase!)
How long has it been on your list? – Did you have those boots on your list for two months and then realize you could live without them? Great! Think about how much money you just saved- $150!!
Do you still need the same item you wanted 3 months ago? – Reevaluate your list from time to time. In the time it takes you to save for those boots (50$ a month for 3 months), did you find something better to use that money for? Paying down debt, donating it, or add it to saving for a weekend get-away!
To stop shopping sounds simple enough but it really comes down to changing your mindset. Shopping is a quick fix, an instant gratification. Material possessions can clutter your space physically and your mind emotionally. Prioritize what you really want or need! Don’t let stuff overcrowd your happiness.
Review these steps and see the savings add up!
Do you use lists? What other ways do you challenge yourself to save money?