Here is part two of my tips to reducing daily spending. Part one is here.
7. Aim for “spend-nothing” days.
Challenge yourself to see how many days in a week or month you can spend zero money. Don’t include your regular recurring bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities — these days don’t give you freedom to buy a bunch of other things. If all you pay is rent, it still counts as nothing spent. Keep track on your phone or calendar to see if you can do even better next week or month. Encourage friends to participate as well and try to do better than each other.
8. Have a budget buddy or a shopping partner.
Do you have a friend who also wants to spend less money? Help each other out by saying “no” to unnecessary purchases. I strongly believe that no adult has the right to control the actions of another adult, including family members, but when this is a requested and mutually beneficial arrangement that’s fine. You can also use technology to add accountability by posting on an internet forum, social media site, or corresponding with an email friend about your money goals and spending choices.
Or maybe you are a contrarian like me? Do you hear “no” and automatically want to do the exact opposite? Then a “yes” buddy may work better for you. This is someone who gives you permission to spend whatever you want, which can take the fun out of pointless spending. You’re not being free-spirited or naughty by blowing your budget; you’re making an adult decision as you are entitled to do. Ugh, adult decision – how boring! Better to go run around in a park or partake in a free activity if you want to keep your inner child happy.
9. Don’t use shopping to relax, socialize, or reward yourself.
If shopping is a reward, make a list today of other things you can do. Stressful day at work? Lie down and just rest for a while. Walk around a new area. Call a friend. Pet a cat. When you feel the urge to shop look at your list of rewards for alternate activities.
If you really like monetary rewards at least plan to spend a smaller amount. A food treat or a new song or game is cheaper than shoes or clothes you don’t need.
Do you like to socialize at the mall? If you can do it without overspending that’s great. But if you tend to always buy something, try to meet your friends somewhere else. Again, it’s about lowering dollars spent, not total deprivation. Get a drink and chat, or take a snack to a park or activity instead of heading to the stores. It’s important to recognize the places where you tend to overspend or make thoughtless purchases, and plan ahead to avoid those places.
10. Fixate on a long term goal.
Do you want to quit your job? Go on a trip? Start a business? In your head, picture this life. What are you doing? What does it feel like? When you are tempted to spend money think about this alternate reality that you are stealing from yourself. Some people like a visual reminder so might keep a picture on their phone or in their wallet. Some people like to use a word or mantra. I just thought about buying back my freedom.
11. Pick the payment method that encourages self-control.
This is a big debate on financial sites – cash, credit, or debit? Which one makes you think harder about your purchases? For me I think harder when I pay with a credit card. For me electronic money is the most real money. (Of course I pay my full credit card balance every month.) I find that cash is too easy to spend, and harder to track. Use whatever method is makes it harder for you to part with your hard-earned money.
12. Just don’t bring money.
Unless you’re worried about getting stuck somewhere, leave your cards and majority of cash at home. Bring only what you want to spend. Make spending a little harder for yourself. Don’t store credit card information near your computer.
Have a tip to add? Let me know.