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Finding ways to save money is tough.
But learning how to stop spending money (especially on unnecessary things) is even tougher.
And I bet you are constantly asking yourself, “Why do I spend so much money?”
Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.
To be honest, there are still rare occasions where I catch myself buying something on impulse.
It’s bound to happen to anyone despite how great they are with their money!
Like most people, there will be times when you can’t control your spending.
Something you like may catch your attention.
You could be bored, angry, or sad, which triggers you to spend.
Is spending money an addiction?
Sometimes you may even engage in “retail therapy” because it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while, especially when you’ve achieved something.
That’s fine because we all deserve a little treat sometimes.
Just be careful though, because similar to drinking, your spending can really spiral out of control and become a shopping addiction.
This compulsive spending behavior could leave you and your family in serious debt with no assets.
My point is “retail therapy” or occasionally buying things you like isn’t bad as long as it’s done in moderation.
But when you’re unaware, or in denial, something small that doesn’t seem harmful can eventually cost you thousands of dollars and leave you in financial trouble!
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How to stop spending money on unnecessary things
You don’t deserve any financial pain, and I’m going to show you how to avoid it!
Today, I’m going to talk about the ways to stop spending money so you can gain control and achieve your financial dreams.
👉 You can also check out these unnecessary things I stopped buying to save over $10,000 here.
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Why I was spending so much money
Here’s a quick personal story about my past reckless spending behavior. Luckily I didn’t go in debt because of it.
More than a few years ago, I wasn’t able to save money like how I used to.
It was very unlike me because I was able to save, invest, and build wealth; but things changed quickly and my personal savings didn’t grow for two years!
I was mindlessly blowing my money on things because I thought it was going to solve my problems and make me happier.
Most of my paychecks were spent on expensive restaurants, clothes, makeup, shoes, home décor items, furniture, random stuff, etc.
Deep inside, I was scared and in denial.
I just couldn’t stop spending even though I was aware of my bad spending habits.
Fortunately, I was cautious about my behavior and accepted the fact that I needed help.
When I dug deeper to find out why I was spending so much money, I realized it was because I was depressed at the job I hated, had a lot of family issues, and stressed about life.
Just knowing the root cause of my behavior helped a ton and I was able to learn how to stop spending money on:
- Expensive food
- Clothes, make up, and accessories
- Home décor and new furniture
- Unnecessary things I don’t need (knick knacks and doodads)
Steps I Took To Stop Spending Money
So, here are steps you can take to stop spending money you don’t have.
After following through, I was able to gain control and reach my financial goals again!
1. Know your why and set goals
On top of digging deeper and finding out your root problem, you may also want to understand why you’re looking for help on how to stop spending.
There are many reasons why you want to stop spending money and improve your situation.
Perhaps you want to:
For me, I knew that being stuck at a job I didn’t like was one of the root problems to why I was spending so much money.
That’s why I wanted to find ways to save money wisely and learn a thing or two about the best frugal living tips so I could build wealth and achieve financial freedom.
Related post: How We Saved Over $700,000 in 7 Years
2. Figure out what triggers your spending
There are many psychological factors that may cause emotional spending.
Like my personal story above, your spending habits could be triggered by your emotions.
You need to understand what triggers your spending habits before you can even fix the problem.
Here are some reasons why you may be spending more than you should:
You’re sad, angry or having a bad day.
Do you catch yourself buying something when you’re having a bad day at work?
Perhaps you got into a fight with your spouse?
The feeling of sadness or anger may prompt you to spend because you think buying something will make you feel better.
In other words, you think spending and buying things will eliminate your sorrows and make you happy. It’s sort of similar to drinking your sorrows away, but it becomes a vicious cycle and it only makes the situation worse.
You subconsciously want to impress others.
It’s hard to swallow this, but many people can’t stop spending on things they can’t afford because they care too much about what others think of them.
They try to keep up with the Joneses to protect their ego and self-worth without realizing the stress of debt and financial problems.
A good example is when someone purchases a big home or a couple of fancy cars that they truly cannot afford.
This is somewhat related to my next point.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” 😩
You’re masking your low self-esteem.
I went through a phase where I was always buying new clothes, shoes, accessories, and handbags because I thought wearing a new outfit to work every day was going to make me feel more confident in front of others.
I felt pressured because most people at my workplace look sharp and are well-dressed.
I wasn’t very confident and had a lot of self-esteem issues. ☹️
So, I thought nice clothes, shoes, makeup, and handbags were going to make me more confident and happy.
To add on top of the stress, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be liked by others – I realized it was all in my head.
I also gave myself the excuse that things were on sale and it gave me a reason to buy more.
I was actually becoming more depressed each day no matter how many new clothes I bought.
Even compliments by others didn’t make me feel happy or confident, so I realized the problem was me. 🙄
To make my situation worse, I was becoming more stressed because I wasn’t saving as much money as I used to!
As mentioned before, I eventually dug deeper and realized that it was the job I hated that made me feel sad and depressed.
😊 Today, I’ve become a happier person because I was able to save enough money to quit my job and use that time to find different ways to make $200+ every day. It is important for me to find a side hustle or hobby that aligns with my interests. 💸
Most importantly, this has helped me stop buying unnecessary things for the sake of spending money!
You’re feeling bored
Have you ever felt the urge to spend because you’re bored and have nothing else to do?
I know I have and that’s why I ended up with small knick-knacks, ornaments, and other “pretty” or “cool” stuff.
I regret these small purchases because they end up lying around my house collecting dust.
Sometimes my intention is to “window shop” but I would end up spending money because I’m bored. Plus, who couldn’t resist a “good” sale, or that fun and “cheap” item, right?
Have you heard of the horrifying stories of others who desperately sell their clutter to pay off their debts and overdue bills?
“If you buy things you don’t need, you soon will sell things you need” — Warren Buffett 🛍💸
You feel the need for instant gratification
We’re humans and we love things that are instant and now. We just can’t hold our horses!
The sad part is this euphoria only lasts for a short period of time and we tend to forget.
Think about the new handbag, outfit, toy, random knick-knack, etc. you purchased because you thought it was going to change your life and make you happy.
I bet you probably forgot about those items by now.
The fact is your feeling for “instant gratification” has robbed over thousands of dollars from you (potentially even more such as your $1,000,000 retirement fund).
You try to make up for the past
I’ve mentioned that I was born in a low-income family who couldn’t save any money and struggled to make ends meet.
After being surrounded by “richer” peers at school and work (who thought I was weird for not having the same “rich” experiences as them), I started to feel as if I was deprived in the past.
I think the feeling of missing out on things in my past gave me the urge to spend more today.
3. Take action to stop buying things
Now that you know your why and what triggers you to spend, it’s time to take action to reduce your spending.
Here’s how to stop spending money on unnecessary things:
Look at your past spending activity
To stop spending money you don’t have, you first need to analyze your spending behavior!
I personally find this helpful when you take a look at ALL of your past transactions.
This includes ALL spending from your bank accounts, credit cards, receipts, etc.
I bet you’re going to be shocked at your numbers once you see them on Excel!
But trust me, this will help because you’re going to know how much you’re spending and see exactly where your money is going.
To give you an example, when my fiance and I looked at our monthly expenses, we did not realize that we were spending over 5 figures a year on food (for one couple only).
This was a huge wakeup call for us, so we started looking for ways on how to stop spending money on food.
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My fiance and I were able to save over $11,000 per year just by simply cooking delicious meals at home and planning them more often!
Related post: 10 Things I Stopped Buying To Save Over $10,000 (#4 May Shock You) 😮
Prioritize your needs and wants
Next, give yourself a realistic budget along with prioritizing your needs and wants.
You want to list all your needs like basic food, shelter, clothes, utilities, etc.
Once you know how much your basic needs costs, set aside an allowance for wants. These wants are things that make life more enjoyable but be sure you can afford them!
💡 PRO TIP: I like to set aside a budget for my “guilt-free” spending.
Thanks to “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” personal finance book, this method allows me to save money before spending all of it. It’s easier when you save first and spend what’s leftover.
“Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffet 🌟
4. “Out of sight, out of mind” will stop you from spending money
You’ll know how to control your spending better when things are “out of sight, out of mind”. 🙈
I mentioned at the beginning that people tend to spend money when they are bored, angry, or just having a bad day.
That ties in with the fact that we enjoy the euphoria rush of instant gratification, which most of us end up regretting.
Well, here’s how to stop spending money on unnecessary things that you think are making you happy but not.
Unsubscribe from retailers’ e-mails.
It’s okay to keep a few of your favorites in your inbox, but just be cautious of their marketing tactics.
And delete the rest!
Not only will this method block ads and marketing campaigns, but it will also stop you from FOMO (fear of missing out).
I used to think I was missing out on a great deal if I didn’t act fast. This made me spend more money without realizing.
That nice summer dress I purchased online through their e-mail notification cost me over $65 after tax despite it being 70% off, which is fine! I like it and I still wear it.
BUT, there were a lot of other items I decided to add onto my shopping list, and I bought some for my mom too.
After reviewing my purchases for that summer, I ended up spending $2,000 on clothes within a 3-month period! I was shocked because I thought, “How did my $65 purchase on a dress turn out to cost me $2,000?” 🤔
Purchases add up really fast, and this all started from that one e-mail notification about the store’s biggest sale.
Like I said, it can be hard to stop spending, especially when companies have lured you into their “great sale” or “buy more, save more”.
So, it’s best to unsubscribe and stay away.
Find an alternative hobby (preferably, one that makes money) 💵💵💵 🌟
Again, I thought new clothes, shoes, and makeup were going to fix my confidence, but it didn’t.
I realized the real problem was within.
What made things worse was I was spending too much money on things that didn’t identify who I was.
To stop spending money and to keep things “out of sight, out of mind”, I started making home décor crafts and flipping furniture to make extra money over a couple of years ago.
I also eventually started this blog as a hobby just 17 months ago on a whim with no experience.
What boggles my mind is I made close to $10,000 with this blog in March 2019! This was beyond my wildest dreams ever! 🤩
Flipping furniture, selling home décor crafts, and blogging has definitely stopped me from shopping and spending money.
I became more productive and was able to focus on things I enjoy!
If anything, these money-making hobbies helped me earn and save more money than before!
⭐️ DID YOU KNOW?
Just a year and a half ago, I had no idea that starting a blog would improve my life both mentally and financially!
Blogging was a way for me to distract myself from feeling depressed and spending money.
Blogging also encouraged me to save money, make some extra money, and eventually allowed me to earn a full-time income. I was able to quit my job within my first year with no prior experience!
You too can start a money-making blog for just $2.95 per month (that’s over 60% off) and you get a FREE domain name ($15.99 value) when you sign up through my easy step-by-step blogging tutorial here. 👈
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5. Practice gratitude 🙏
Last but not least, always be thankful for what you have.
This strategy helps each time you’re tempted to spend on impulse, whether it’s due to emotional or feeling bored.
Nowadays, whenever I’m tempted to make spontaneous purchases, I think back to what I have. I don’t need more stuff or material things to be happy.
Practicing gratitude and learning how to be grateful makes you happier, healthier, and less stressed!
According to this article, research shows that owning stuff and material goods are unlikely to boost one’s happiness.
This proven strategy is very powerful and it has personally helped me cope with my low self-confidence issues.
“The studies suggest that materialistic people are less happy than their peers. They experience fewer positive emotions, are less satisfied with life, and suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.”
Now, I only buy necessities and things I absolutely love and appreciate.
I’m truly thankful for what I have — that is my life, family, friends, experiences, and a few of my favorite splurges that make my life more fun.
Overall, I am happy with the fact that I’m still healthy and get to enjoy life with the people I care about.
Not only does being appreciative reduce my spending by a TON, but it also prevents my home from being a storage place for things. The last thing I need to stress about is a room filled with unnecessary clutter!
Final words on ways to stop spending money:
It’s okay to spend money and reward yourself once in a while.
I always say things in moderation and keeping a good balance is the key to living a happy life!
But sometimes it could get to the point where you find yourself spending too much money without understanding why.
The first and most important step is to understand why you are looking for help on how to stop spending money.
Know what your end goal is.
Next, figure out what triggers your spending. This may be stemmed from your emotional feelings.
Once you know your end goal and what’s prompting you to spend, take action by:
– Analyzing and tracking your spending
– Prioritizing your wants and needs
– Creating a realistic budget (again, I like creating a “guilt-free” spending account aside to make saving money easier)
– Finding ways to keep things “out of mind, out of sight” (I was looking and searching for hobbies that make money, which helped distract me from spending money and buying things I don’t need)
Over to you – Are you spending too much money? What are some of your ways to stop spending money? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments! Also, don’t forget to check out the best resources to get free money! You can’t afford to miss out! 🙂