Ever get to the end of the month (or worse yet, mid-month) and think, “Wait, where did all my money go?”
We hear time and time again that it’s important to spend less… but no one REALLY shares how to make that happen –– in a practical way.
So here I am with some simple tricks to curb your spending…NOW!
* Read to the very end for a BONUS lesson on saving.*
1. Adjust your spending mindset
To help shift your relationship with money in the right direction, ask yourself these four important questions before spending a dime: Do I need it, love it, like it, or want it? I talk all about this concept on Day 5 of my savings challenge. Here’s a sneak peek of this money mindset blueprint: https://thebudgetnistablog.com/need-love-like-want/
2. Track your coins for a month
To really know where your money is going, use a tool like Mint.com (or an old-fashioned paper and pen combo) to help you see if your current spending habits align with your priorities and goals.
3. Call your service providers for better deals
Here’s a little secret: A lot of your services are negotiable. Not all… but a lot. Call and connect with their retention departments to squeak out any discounts and extra “please stay” incentives they can pull out their bags. All Connect, has a great list of questions to ask here.
4. Unsubscribe from marketing emails
The ones that constantly tell you that you NEED this for summer… or MUST-HAVE this for fall. By law, each marketing email is required to have an “unsubscribe link” (usually found at the bottom of the email). If you’re getting unwanted, tempting text messages from your favorite brands… you can reply to the text with STOP, and that should opt you out of their list.
5. Enroll in autopay
Wait, before you roll your eyes… auto-pay has plenty of benefits. There is a reduced risk of racking up late fees, and some companies even give you a small discount for signing up.
6. Conduct your own home audit
There are lots of ways to spend less around the house. You can switch to water-conserving shower heads… upgrade to energy-efficient lightbulbs, windows and appliances… install reusable water filters… tell yourself and/or your family to unplug electronics when not in use… and to “turn the heat/air DOWN, lol.”
7. Score at your local library
YES! Don’t sleep on your neighborhood libraries for free and fun entertainment options. Along with the obvious wall-to-wall books to borrow, they also have free classes, games, events, video game rentals (some locations), and other great freebies to take full advantage of. The only thing you’ll need to pull out of your wallet is… your library card.
8. Set gift-giving guidelines
When shopping for loved ones to celebrate holidays or special occasions, it’s pretty easy to go a little overboard. Establishing a “one gift” rule or a max spending limit will help take some of the financial pressure off. It also helps get the creative juices flowing for more meaningful gifts… that don’t break the bank to prove your love.
9. Share the savings love
Spending less is more easily accomplished when we think more collectively. Some ideas would be to organize a neighborhood swap for clothes, books, school supplies, appliances, etc. Or, think about purchasing in bulk. Maybe you and your friends could use a warehouse shopping card to purchase and split large bulk purchases.
10. Set a weekly “no spend day”
Designate one day each week as a zero-spend day. Eat what’s at home (all day) and focus on fun, free activities like local parks… game nights… or even DIY art projects. Use your imagination!
11. Plan out meals in advance
Folks who create a food shopping list (even better if it’s based on specific planned meals vs. jotting down random things you like) spend much less money than people who go up and down the shopping aisles to figure out what to purchase when they arrive at the store. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of bucks. And, I hear its also a better strategy for the waistline. A win-win!
12. Become a Coupon Queen
Now, I’m not saying you have to go all out and turn into an extreme couponer, but who doesn’t like spending LESS on items you would already buy?! Even couponing for essential household staples like toilet paper and cleaning supplies can quickly pile up the saved coins (and stock)! (Psst… Rakuten can help with this. Check out my blog post on my long love of this money saving app.)
13. Travel smarter
Don’t know where to start? I got you! I have a whole blog post with more than 18 tips on how to spend less while traveling. Read more here.
Whew! Getting the gist?
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, but it SHOULD get you thinking about finding more and more ways to kick unnecessary spending to the curb.
Bonus Lesson (Saving):
Okay, now that you’re on your way to rolling in all this extra dough, we need to tackle a BIG misconception.
Here it is.
It’s the (incorrect) idea that: spending less money means that you’re actually SAVING money.
Nope, not true.
Let’s say, for example, that you plan to take your lunch to work for the next few days to “save money”.
Or, you use coupons and spend $80 less on your weekly grocery store run.
Great news, but it won’t turn into an actual savings benefit until you complete the full spend-to-save cycle.
Meaning, you gotta get it OUT of your checking account and INTO a separate savings account.
Otherwise… trust me… it will just get absorbed into your day-to-day spending and disappear.
NOTE: If you’re not great at saving money on your own, Empower is one of my favorite money tools for automated budget tracking and saving… without YOU having to do any of the hard work. Read about their magic HERE!
Feeling inspired to defeat the spirit of overspending starting ta-day?
Woot woot! I’m rooting for you…
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