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Are you spending money you don’t have? Maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck and need to get on track financially.
In order to save money and move forward financially, you need to live below your means. You need to stop spending money that you don’t have.
If you’re constantly going over budget and spending more than you make, then you need to follow these tips.
Don’t have a budget? Check out How to Create an Effective Budget. A budget is critical to financial freedom.
How to Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have
Stop Using Credit Cards
If you cannot afford to pay for something in cash today then you’re buying stuff that you don’t have the money to buy.
Getting rid of your credit cards is a crucial step to preventing spending money you don’t have.
Think about it? How else are you able to buy things without actually having the money to do so?
Using a credit card gives you the means to overspend without a thought. If you get rid of your credit cards, you simply cannot spend money that’s not there.
To make it a little easier to get rid of those credit cards just think about all the interest your paying on top of the things that you already cannot afford.
Switch to a debit card system or cash (more on cash in the next section). Put your credit cards away or get rid of them completely.
Use a Cash Envelope System
You’ve probably heard of the cash envelope system, if not, you can read my post on the cash envelope system for beginners.
Basically, you’re going to use cash for all your budget categories like groceries, gas, entertainment, and more.
You put this cash in envelopes for each category. Once you run out of cash, you cannot spend any more in that category.
This will keep you from overspending and it will also help you be more aware of your spending. Which brings us to my next tip.
Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending is super important. You may not even realize what you’re spending money on. By writing down your expenses or tracking them in an app such as the EveryDollar App, you become more aware.
This is why doing a monthly budget is so important. You want to start writing down what you spend on a daily basis. If you’ve been swiping for all your purchases, you can go back and look at your bank and credit card statements to get an idea right away.
But moving forward, Track, Track, Track. Don’t skip this step! You will be amazed at how much money you save just by tracking your spending.
Think of Your Money in Terms of Work Hours
How many hours would you have to work to buy that thing? The next time you’re at a store or thinking about making a purchase, think to yourself, how many hours would I have to work to afford this?
For example, say you want to buy a new pair of shoes for $60 and you make $15 an hour, you would have to work 4 hours to buy that pair of shoes. Are those shoes worth 4 hours of your time?
If they are, then go ahead and buy them but only if you can actually afford them and pay for them in cash today.
Stop Shopping with Friends
If you find that you spend a lot of money when you’re out shopping with friends, then stop shopping with them.
If going to the mall is how you spend time with friends and family then you might want to find something else to do.
The same thing goes for going out to eat with friends. If your girl’s nights consist of going out to eat and shopping, you might be setting yourself up to fail.
Plan a girl’s night in. Do things that don’t involve spending a lot of money.
Get Off Social Media
Social media can be harmful especially when it comes to your spending. Whether seeing your friends buying new stuff or “living their best life” or seeing ads of products that you all of a sudden “need” or just want.
You’re constantly being sold to without even realizing it.
The fact that you saw that product you were looking at yesterday on another website, now pop up in your Facebook feed is no coincidence. It’s also not a sign that you should buy it now. It’s called retargeting. Retailers use Facebook ads to retarget customers who showed interest in their products.
Unsubscribe From Sale Emails
Do you get daily emails from your favorite stores? Emails telling you that there’s a sale or that it’s your last chance to buy this or get 50% off that?
Unsubscribe! I’m not a big spender but I am a saver and deals get me sometimes, I will not lie. Take the out of sight out of mind approach here and unsubscribe from these emails.
Sales come back over and over again so you’re not missing out.
Go into your email right now and start unsubscribing! There should be an unsubscribe link at the very bottom or if you’re using Gmail, there’s also an option at the top.
Figure Out Your Spending Triggers
Think about what triggers your spending. What was the last thing you bought and why did you buy it? Did you see an ad for something and you just had to have it? Were you out with your friends and they were buying it so you bought it? Were you on Instagram or Facebook?
Figuring out what triggers you to spend is a great way to spend less.
For myself, I know clearance deals are a trigger. I can come home with bags of clearance deals.
While shopping clearance can be a great money-saving strategy, you have to be conscious of what you’re buying and why.
Going into debt to buy clearance items would make no sense. If you have it in your budget then great, buy it and save yourself money in the long run.
Challenge Yourself With a No-Spend Challenge
Try doing a no-spend challenge. Set some rules on what you can spend money on. Think basic necessities (food, gas, etc). Try it for a week and then try it for a month. There have been people who have actually done a no-spend year.
If you’re a competitive type person this works really well! Even though you’re only competing with yourself.
Be creative and try different things to make it fun. Recruit family and friends to do a no-spend challenge with you.
Not spending money doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of things to do that are free or low cost.
Check out these other blog posts for some free alternatives to things you may be paying for now:
- How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free
- How to Get Free Books
- How to Print Free
- How to Get Free Gift Cards
- Fun Free Kids Activities
Ask Yourself These Questions
The next time you are out or online and want to buy something, ask yourself these questions.
- Do I need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Will I use it?
- Is it worth it?
- Did I need or want this before I saw it?
This might sound silly but getting into this habit is really life-changing when it comes to your spending. Try it!
Learn to Be Content
This one is really important. If you’re constantly feeling like you don’t have enough or that everyone else has better things than you, you’ll never get ahead.
Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. You might think people are rich or have great lives but they could be deep in debt or unhappy. What you see on social media is what people want you to see.
If you know happy and financially free people in person then ask them how they got there. Use them as role models and not as people to be envious of.
Be happy and grateful for everything you have. There are many people in the world who have a lot less. Start every morning off with gratitude.
Did these tips help you? Which of them are you going to implement in your life? Leave a comment!