If you've landed here on this page…I'm willing to bet your spending habits aren't (as Mary Poppins says) ship-shape. Writing about how to stop spending money (and save it instead) is something I cover often here on the site. For me, I hate telling myself to cut back.
Because suddenly, when I tell myself I can't do it….spending is all I want to do.
Below is a list full of the solutions I've covered/written about/or read that have helped me learn how to stop spending money over the last seven years I've been running this blog.
The good news is that below you're bound to find something that work for you, something that will help you to overcome your spending problem: whether it's a full-blown addiction or a bad habit you'd like to break in order to live a better financial future.
How to Stop Spending Money: 61 Things to Do Instead
- Figure out why you're spending in the first place: are you an over buyer or an under buyer? What is your money mentality?
- Cut down on money spent on eating out by trying a meal kit delivery service instead (here are the ones we liked and didn't like.)
- Draft your own set of money beliefs. How does shopping and spending money fit in?
- Replace your bad spending habit with one of these 8 quick (under five minute) money habits.
- Try a “Save as much as you can in (x) amount of time” challenge. Here's how I saved $1000 in 45 days doing this!
- Stay at home and work your way through one of your favorite television shows. I like this because I always see something I missed the first time around. (Looking at you SATC or Downton Abbey)
- It's hard to just stop – instead, figure out why you want to stop spending money. Which financial goal are you trying to make? What's really important to you?
- Put your energy into getting better at a skill you really need – try cooking at home or getting better at making new friends.
- Instead of shopping on your phone, try out the 20 money making apps instead.
- Do you have a shopping addiction? Here are the 5 ways to assess if you have a legitimate shopping problem.
- See how much mindless shopping is costing you by tracking your spending in a budgeting app. (I like Status Money for this. It's free and you get $5 rewards for signing up.)
- Try doing a focus group – super fun + they pay you.
- Get an app that will save for you automatically so you'll always have money for a rainy day.
- You can also try keeping a money diary for a week to see how much you're really spending.
- Find a licensed therapist, particularly one who specializes in addiction or money counseling. You can even go online and get a therapist who will meet with you via phone or Skype with the Talkspace app.
- If you feel up to it – go cold turkey by tackling a no spend challenge.
- Consider an all-cash diet. Getting cash out of an ATM always puts me on the right path. (When I remember to do it!)
- Sync your checking account with an app like Qapital to sock away little bits of cash and allow yourself to ONLY spend this money. That way when you do want to spend…it's guilt free!
- Instead of using extra energy to shop and consume – put your energy into a creative outlet like starting a new blog or new side hustle.
- Learn how to change your consumer-driven lifestyle by reading Cait Flanders or The Minimalists for inspiration on how to live with less and spend more mindfully.
- Sometimes those who overspend do so because they haven't tried a good budget. Here's how to set up a budget that will actually work FOR you, not against you.
- Focus on nurturing your inside rather than your “outside” by trying one of these self care routines.
It's tough work to change your behavior when you've been spending unfettered for so long, but it CAN be done.
As you can see, it isn't so much about completely cutting out spending. Instead, it's about re-routing your energy into things other than spending. Many of the tips above will help better your finances if you just devote the time and energy to them. Funnily enough, I've found that once the spending stops, all of that spare brain space in your head opens up and allows you to really focus on getting your act together.
Funny how that works, right?