If you’ve ever spent more than you should have, gone over your budget, or regretted a purchase, this one’s for you!
Since our monthly budget is less than $1500, you can imagine that I’m pretty amazing at not spending money. 🙂 And I don’t even feel deprived or like I’m missing out. I’ve changed some of my habits so that I don’t miss shopping and I don’t feel the urge to buy stuff unless we really need it.
I’ve changed some of my habits so that I don’t miss shopping and I don’t feel the urge to buy stuff unless we really need it.
So here are my secrets to not spending money:
1. Don’t Go Shopping
It’s obvious, but it’s the most important place to start.
Has anyone ever gone to the mall and not spent any money? At the very least, you buy a smoothie or a cinnamon sugar pretzel, right? Man, those pretzels are good!
You don’t take someone who is trying to drink less alcohol to a bar and you don’t go to the store if you don’t want to spend money. Simple.
Repeat after me: Shopping is not a hobby.
If you don’t have money to spend, don’t go to the store. And if you need to go to Walmart to buy groceries, don’t wander through the craft supplies or home decor section. It’s just too tempting.
A lot of the things in our house only get used a few times a year. I’m sure that I could find a family member or friend to borrow from instead of purchasing something that’s just going to sit around most of the time.
I’m sure that I could find a family member or friend to borrow from instead of purchasing something that’s just going to sit around most of the time.
Tip: Before you go buy something new, think about how often you will really use it. Then check and see if you could borrow it from someone instead.
3. Use Something Else
We don’t own a coffee maker because we don’t drink that much coffee. We have instant coffee for when the mood strikes.
We don’t own many serving dishes. We use glass bakeware as serving dishes if we have guests over for dinner.
We hardly ever drink wine so we don’t own wine glasses. If we bring home a bottle, we just drink it out of normal glasses.
Sure, we would use all of those things on occasion if we had them, but we would be spending extra money and have to find a place to store it all.
Tip: Before you rush out to buy something, think about if there is something you already own that could be used instead.
4. Avoid Online Shops
This is tough for me! We live in a really rural area, so there aren’t that many stores tempting me. But online shopping is a whole different story.
Tip: To avoid online stores, don’t save them to your favorites in your web browser. Also, unsubscribe to all of those tempting emails telling you about sales. Seriously, there isn’t a day of the year that there isn’t a sale happening (I’m looking at you, Pre-President’s Day Sale).
You can always sign up to receive emails again when you need to make a purchase from that online shop if you’re worried about missing out on deals when you need them.
5. Don’t Let Websites Save Your Info
Most websites want to save your billing, shipping, and credit card information.
It makes it way faster to make a purchase next time because they already have everything they need. However, it makes it much easier for you to click the “Submit Order” button.
Tip: When you make a purchase at an online store, make sure to not let them save your info.
Next time you want to purchase something, it will take you some extra effort because you will have to enter your billing, shipping, and credit card info. It’s silly, but that little bit of extra effort just might make you re-think your purchase and if you really need it.
6. Keep a List of Things You Need
Ok, so keeping a list of things you need might seem weird if you’re trying not to spend money, but go with me on this one.
If you keep a list of things you need, you will have time to think through those items and make sure they really are “needs”. Also, it will remind you of what to look for when you do go shopping.
You are less likely to spend on impulse purchases when you know you should be looking for a few specific items that you know you need to spend some cash on.
7. Wait 24 Hours
This is some classic advice.
If you see a cute top you want, tell yourself that if you still want it in 24 hours, you can go back and get it.
Once you get home you might realize that you have 27 black tops already and you probably don’t need another. Stores thrive off of getting customers to buy on impulse.
8. Think Of How Much You Worked For It
Sometimes, an item seems less appealing when you think about how much you had to work for it.
Example: Let’s say you make $10/hour. If you find a super cute comforter for your bed marked way down to $90, you had to work 9 hours to afford that comforter. More, if you think about taxes being taken out of your paycheck. You might end up thinking that that’s a lot of hours to work for something you don’t really need.
9. See If It’s Fate
I just did this the other day.
There was this cute dress and Sam’s Club that I really wanted. I was good and didn’t buy it. Well, when we went back to Sam’s Club two months later, they still had it! I had been thinking about this dress the whole time, so I decided that it was fate and I bought the dress. It turned out that it didn’t quite fit right (there’s no place to try things on there), so I returned it, haha!
The point though, is it wait and see if what you want is still available next time.
Obviously, this only works with little things that you actually have the money for. If you want a diamond bracelet that you can’t afford, don’t use this method. 🙂
10. Only Bring Enough Cash
If you have a hard time sticking to your budget, don’t bring more cash than you are supposed to spend.
If you only have $50 to spend on groceries, bring $50 of cash into the store. You’re not allowed to cheat and use a credit card if you go over budget. Use a calculator to add up your purchases if you need to.
11. Wrap Up Your Card
I can’t remember where I heard this advice, but I like it.
If you are overspending, wrap a special note around your credit card telling yourself why you shouldn’t spend money. The note could say something like “saving for vacation” or “house downpayment” or “we’re almost out of debt”. The note should remind you of your goals and why you don’t want to spend money. Then when you go to buy something unnecessary you’ll think twice.
12. Shop With a List
Grocery shopping 101: Never shop without a list. Know what you need. Buy what you need, nothing else.
13. Find Free Entertainment
If you’re tempted to spend money on entertainment like going out to eat, to the movies, or for drinks with friends, keep a running list of free entertainment ideas.
Check out this post: The Big List of FREE Entertainment & Activities.
Most cities have tons of free events happening if you want to get out.
Plus, you can always get movies from the library, play frisbee golf at a park, host a campfire…
You do not need to spend money to have fun. If you keep a list of fun, free ideas, you’ll be less likely to spend money on entertainment when you’re bored.
Bonus Idea: Focus on Making Money
If you have a hard time focusing on not spending money, why not shift your focus to trying to make extra money instead?
I’ve been earning cash back on our grocery purchases by scanning my receipts into Ibotta. We needed to buy groceries anyways, but I’m earning money back, which is awesome!
My favorite part of Ibotta is the fact that you can get rebates for buying fresh fruits and veggies as well as non-name brand items.
If you use my link (click here to sign up) you will get $10 added to your account when you redeem your first rebate. You might even have a receipt in your wallet right now that you could use. Plus, if you invite your friends to use Ibotta, you will get $5 when they redeem their first rebates.
I’ve also been earning points which can be redeemed for gift cards through Swagbucks. It’s free to sign up and you earn points by watching videos, taking surveys, or using their search engine. If you have online shopping to do, you can earn cash back on your purchases at tons of different websites. But you don’t to spend anything to earn! Click here to sign up for Swagbucks.
Get Access to my Budget and Spending Tracker Spreadsheet with Instructions!
Make sure to check out my Recommendations Page to see the resources I use to make extra money, save money, learn new skills, and keep this blog going.
⇒ What are your strategies for not spending money?