Do you spend too much money? I know for a time I did and it got me into a decent chunk of credit card debt. While we are ultimately to blame for our overspending ways, we can’t overlook the fact that companies spend millions of dollars each year to figure out how to advertise to us so that we spend money. They cater to the emotional side of our brains, and this makes us want something now. When we have buyer’s remorse, it is the intellectual side of our brain kicking in.
4 Ways to Stop Bad Spending Habits
How do you overcome your spending habit? Here are 4 tricks that helped me get my spending habits back in check.
- Start Slow.
The first step to kicking a bad spending habit is to take things slow. If you search around the internet, you may come across “no spending challenges”. These are games where people try to go a certain length of time without spending any money. For some people these work, but for many others they don’t.
The reason is because they will just binge after the challenge is over. It is like a super intense diet that lasts a week. Sure you will lose a few pounds that week, but you will just go back to your bad eating habits again the following week and gain all of the weight back and then some.
Instead, you have to start slow. Learn what it is like to choose not to buy things here and there. Over time, you will get more accustomed to passing on buying opportunities and won’t overspend.
- Get Rid of Things.
Another great trick to stop overspending is to de-clutter your house. How does this work? Think about it. If you have a huge bookcase, you will want stuff – books, trinkets, etc. – to fill up that space. The less stuff you have to fill up, the less you will want to buy.
When you clean out your house, you will realize how much stuff you have that you never actually use. When I was moving recently, I realized this. I have a ton of books. Most I read once and never again. Yes there are some I go to as a reference but most will never be touched again. So why even have them? As you clean, turn unwanted items into cash.
Doing this trick really makes you see how much money you spent on things you rarely or never even use. In fact, you might even realize you waste a lot of money on stuff. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can change for the better.
- Get Busy.
Next, find a hobby. Lose yourself in something you love to do. The more time you spend doing the things you love, the less time you are surfing the internet or watching TV, two great places for advertisers to get you hooked on something you don’t need.
In fact, do this little test the next time you are watching TV: when you see something interesting that you want, just write it down. You will probably have a list of a few things in a short period of time. Once you have a few items on the list, put it in a drawer. About a week later, pull it out and look over the list.
Odds are you will have completely forgotten about the items on the list. When you see them again, you may want them. The advertiser has found out how to get to you by catering to the emotional side of your brain. Stop this from happening by getting busy with something else.
- Look for Used Instead of New.
Lastly, there will be times when you still want or even need stuff. In these cases, try to search out used items for sale instead of buying new. This will get you to see real value in the things you buy and will help you save money at the same time.
Now, not everything is ideal to buy used, so you will have to use your discretion here. Here are things you should buy used. If you can find a handful of things to buy used instead of new, you will be much better off in the long run.
Overall, kicking your spending habit does take some work. But the effort you put forth to overcome your ways will pay off handsomely in the years ahead. Plus, getting your spending in check can help your children as well. Most kids learn money habits from their parents, so being smart with your money benefits them as well.
More Tips to Control Spending
- How Much Money Do You Spend on (Bad) Habits?
- Don’t Fall For These Marketing Tricks That Make You Spend More Money
- Give Yourself an Allowance to Control Spending and Save Money
- Best Places to Sell Your Stuff to Make Quick Cash
- Tips to Control Spending When Both Spouses are Spenders
- 9 Tips to Stretch the Life of Common Household Items