Have you ever tried to stop spending money on unnecessary things but still ended up buying a bunch of stuff that you don’t need?
If so, you are not alone. We have all been there.
It’s not uncommon to buy things that you don’t need.
And it is not easy to just stop overspending, especially when you are unaware of where your hard-earned money goes.
I have to admit that even though I am mindful of my spending habits, I still make impulse purchases sometimes.
With all the temptations around, you might wonder how to stop spending money on things you don’t need.
- Endless advertisements
- Tempting promotions
- Powerful social media influences
- Convenient online shopping
- Easy loans and popular credit cards
- And more
Stay with me, and I will show you the best ways to stop spending money unnecessarily.
But first, let’s look at what will happen to your financial life when you overcome spending money on useless stuff.
Benefits Of Stopping Spending MoneyUnnecessarily
If you have mastered how to stop spending money on unnecessary things, you can
- pay off your debt.
- stop living paycheck to paycheck.
- have a healthy financial relationship.
- save more money.
- meet your short-term and long-term money goals.
- achieve financial freedom.
Sounds rosy, right?
🌟 Feel free to save and pin this post here on Pinterest so you can come back later to review how to stop overspending and start saving.
How To Stop Spending Money On Unnecessary Things
If you live beyond your means and ruin your relationships with others because of impulse purchases on unnecessary things, you will have serious financial problems down the road.
That said, there is no need to feel guilty about spending money if you
- can afford it.
- are not overpaying it.
- make sure it falls into your budget.
- are not in debt after buying it.
Not sure if you have overspent, check the following points.
Signs Of Overspending
- don’t have enough money to pay bills (wants before needs)
- spend money you don’t have
- buy more than you need
- can’t save
- have credit card debt
- spend the money as soon as you get the paycheck
- spend more than you earn
- have to borrow or dip into savings (if you have) to make up the difference.
- use all your income to pay off your debt
What Causes You To Overspend
Before we look at tips to help you stop spending money, it is wise to figure out what triggers your spending behavior in the first place.
Here are some possible causes.
Many psychological factors could trigger emotional spending, and people act differently to cope with their emotions.
For example, do you often find yourself maxing out your credit card in shopping malls after having a stressful day or a huge fight with your spouse?
Shopping, a leisure activity, is seen as a welcome antidote when you are
And you feel better after spending money lavishly.
But the short-lived happiness is often replaced by intense feelings of discomfort and guilt of overspending afterward.
I used to overspend money carelessly because I felt pleasure after taking bags of stuff home (retail therapy for me). I think spending money can compensate for my negative feelings.
But the truth is, in the end, I wasn’t satisfied or fulfilled in any meaningful way.
I knew the purchases were unnecessary, but I just couldn’t stop spending money.
Luckily, I have never put myself into consumer debt, but I lived paycheck to paycheck.
Like the addiction to video games and alcohol, shopping addiction is hard to control.
When I decided to take control of my purchasing habits, I found out most of my money went to
- excessive purchase of new clothes and beauty products,
- expensive cosmetics and accessories,
- yummy food (e.g., fancy restaurants),
- and dumb stuff that I don’t need – impulse purchases (e.g., knick-knacks).
I also found myself rushing to shopping malls when I was sad, bored, and stressed.
Understanding the underlying issues helped me break my bad spending habits, and I will show you how to stop making new purchases of unnecessary things very soon.
You might also want to check out the unnecessary things I quit buying to save over $10,000 here (#16 could save you a TON of money).
💰 Bonus: You can make fast money using online survey sites like Survey Junkie. It’s 100% FREE to join. Earn extra cash in your spare time and distract yourself from shopping.
Are you surrounded by people who can afford a luxury lifestyle? And you feel you always have to keep up with them, which gives you financial problems and unnecessary stress.
Why not just be honest with them and spend quality time together without spending too much money?
If they genuinely cherish you as a friend, they will understand.
You subconsciously compare yourself with others (peers, friends, or even strangers) because of the environment (like social media influence).
If others have pretty dresses or bags, you will buy better ones that you don’t even need by using the money you don’t have.
You think throwing money at things you don’t need will make you look cool in front of people.
BUT the reality is that spending like crazy will stress you out with mounting financial burdens.
How To Stop Spending Money On Unnecessary Things
We have looked at what might trigger you to spend more than you should. Now it’s time to know how to stop spending money on unnecessary things.
#1 Understand The Relationship Between You And Money
Changing your money mindset is the first step to help you stop spending.
In other words, what does money mean to you? 💵 💸 💰= ???
For me, money is a tool that could give me more options, security, andfreedom.
I make money, save money, and spend money to lead the lifestyle I desire.
What about you?
With enough money, you can choose what you want to do instead of what you have to do.
Need to renovate your house, do it. Or want to have a gap year, take action now.
It’s good to know you have OPTIONS.
Having good money habits is like buying expensive insurance for yourself.
You know you are safe financially if life turns the wrong way (e.g., job loss, divorce, and health problems).
The bottom line: You can support yourself financially no matter what happens in the future.
Being mindful of your spending behavior could save you much more money than you can think of.
Plus, you could have a more comfortable life (in your old age) as you don’t have to struggle to make ends meet.
Most importantly, you could do much more with your money, such as buying a lovely house, starting a new business, and achieving financialFreedom.
Also read: Why Are We So Bad With Money?
#2 Track Your Expenses
The relationship between you and money will directly reflect on your spending habits.
Do you know how much you spent on food, clothes, and gifts last month and where you overspent?
Do yourself a favor, track ALL your expenses from now on, so you know where exactly your money goes and how much you have spent in each area.
You might be surprised or shocked.
Numbers don’t lie.
You could be spending over $100 alone on fruit juice last month (repeated business transactions) or paying $1,000 for a weekend trip.
All the bad spending habits are holding you back from the road to financial freedom.
Starting to cut down on some unnecessary expenses based on your records. And this goes to my next point – understand your needs and wants.
#3 Understand Your Needs And Wants
However, someone’s needs may be others’ wants as we have different financial situations.
Hard to draw the line?
I get you.
My rule of thumb is to take care of the costs that threaten your survival first. For example, having an extra handbag is not a need as I can still live well without it.
You can make a list of your needs and wants before jumping to our next tip – make a realistic budget.
#4 Have A Realistic Budget Plan
The easiest way to drain your bank account is by paying for unnecessary costs without a budget.
Not everyone likes the idea of budgeting, as it sounds like restricting you from spending your money in the way you prefer.
But it’s more like having complete control of your hard-earned money and spending habits.
You and ONLY you can decide why, when, and how to spend the money you have.
Having a realistic budget plan and sticking to it could change your financial life dramatically.
You can make a budget plan based on how much you earn (all sources of income) and how much you spend (all expenses).
💡 Pro Tip: When making a budget, consider your needs, wants, financial goals, debts, and savings. And don’t forget to budget for your fun money (to buy things that bring you joy).
Fixed payments (such as rent) are easy to note down. As for the variable spendings (such as utilities, food, and clothing), you can decide based on the past three months’ expenses.
Plan your budget and review it every month. Don’t be afraid to adjust your budget when necessary.
Once you are more aware of where your money goes and have a better spending habit, you will be able to make smarter financial decisions.
#5 Set Financial Goals
Have you ever had financial goals (short-term or long-term)? If not, it is time to think some.
You can write down your money goals and put them on somewhere you can easily see (on your mobile or wall). Visual aids could encourage you to be more aware of your spending habits.
Stop spending money for good.
💡 Key Takeaway: Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and realistic to achieve in a certain timeframe. – SMART Goals
It’s smart to start with minor adjustments to your expenses and make progress step by step.
For example, say you want to save $5 every day (the price of a morning latte), that is $150 a month ($5*30d=$150), and $1800 a year ($5*30d*12m=$1800).
This money goal is specific, realistic, and measurable. You can review it monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Think about what you can do with this saved $1800.
More examples of money goals:
- Open a savings account and save $10 a day for a month.
- Cut down on eating out from 5 times a week to 2 times a week.
- Brew your own coffee at home instead of buying drive-thru coffee.
- Create an emergency fund and save your first $1,000 within a month.
You can continue the list based on your current financial situation and goals to curb your spending habits.
Never underestimate these small deeds; they add up quickly and could drastically change your financial situation over time.
💡 Pro Tip: When you give your money a purpose, you are more likely to avoid temptations and stop spending on unnecessary things.
#6 Pay For Your Savings Account First
Being a spender or a saver is a matter of choice.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffett
Whenever you get your paycheck, allocate a portion to your savings account first and don’t think about it anymore.
Feel free to have more than one savings accounts (like a retirement fund and an emergency fund) for different purposes.
For the future YOU, the earlier you start saving, the better.
Save hard for a rainy day; save harder when it pours.
#7 Limit The Use Of Your Credit Cards
Plastic cards house desires and temptations.
If you are a regular shopper, you might have a couple of credit cards.
With a click or a quick swipe/tap, you can pay faster and more than ever.
But If you forget to pay back the future money on time, interest adds up, and you end up paying more than you have spent.
DON’T fall into the debt trap.
“Never spend your money before you have it.” – Thomas Jefferson
If you want to learn how to stop spending money online, limit the use of your credit cards.
I find the following tips helpful.
- Always think of your budget before using the card.
- Mark the payday on your calendar.
- Limit the number of your credit cards.
- Only use credit cards when necessary.
- Remove your credit card details online.
- Use a debit card instead.
#8 Avoid The ‘Always On Sale’ Trap
Do you often buy things when on sale?
“A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need.” – Sidney Carroll
Don’t buy something just because it is 75% off; it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great deal.
If you don’t need the things, they are unnecessary expenses.
On top of that, if you spend more here, you will need to cut down on other areas.
‘Always on sale’ temptation is not only limited to physical stores.
When you do online shopping, promotional ads are more intrusive (keep popping out on your screen).
Email marketing? Oh, don’t get me started.
It’s another excellent marketing channel to encourage you to buy impulsively.
After succumbing to free memberships, you have started to receive the retailers’ emails regularly.
Be aware of the marketing messages: “a flash sale,” “get up to 80% off”, “exclusive offers ends tonight,” and “buy now, pay later.”
These are marketing messages trying to allure you to buy more than you need.
Luckily, you can unsubscribe easily.
Out of sight, out of mind.
#9 Bring A Shopping List With You
It’s easy to leave the mall with a bunch of useless things if you don’t have a shopping list.
No matter how good you are with money and how disciplined you are, the multi-billion businesses know how to take the money out of your pocket very well.
Here are some tips for you when you go shopping next time.
- Only buy things on your shopping list and don’t spend time browsing other items.
- While waiting for the checkout, get distracted by listening to your favorite songs or podcasts. So you don’t pick up the little things (e.g., magazines, chewing gums, and travel-sized products).
- If taking your spouse or kids to malls means buying extra stuff that is not in your budget, then don’t hesitate to leave them at home and have a ‘YOU’ time.
- Alternatively, you can buy your groceries and daily essentials online to save more time and money.
#10 Think Before You Buy
Time is Money!
When you can’t help buying unnecessary stuff, think about how many hours of work you have to do to pay for something you don’t need.
Let’s do a simple math here.
Say you want an item that costs $150, and you currently earn $20 an hour. You will need to work extra 7.5 hours.
Is that really worth it?
Would you rather have more free time or be stuck at work so you can pay for the unplanned purchase?
Also read: Lifestyle Creep: How To Avoid It
#11 Get Out Of Debt
If you are in debt, have a plan to pay off your debt as soon as possible.
Related: Should You Pay Down Debt Or Save?
You can use financial apps or mobile notes to track down your progress.
Once you have paid off all your debt, you should be proud of yourself as one financial burden is gone.
Not only are you clean from the debt, but you have developed self-discipline, good money habits, and a positive money mindset along the way.
If you want to speed up the process, consider getting multiple streams of income.
#12 How To Stop Spending So Much Money On Food
I don’t know you, but food expenses occupy a BIG part of my income.
I used to pay a lot for convenience (e.g., food delivery, eating out, and food at work). It was excessive and wasteful.
Now I prepare my food, snacks, and drinks in advance. When I have the urge to buy for convenience, my convenience is ready.
I recommend you also check how much you have spent on food (grocery, takeaways, and food in general).
For example, spending $20 on dinner every night is $600 a month.
The easiest way to cut down on food expenses and food waste is to have a meal plan and stick to it.
You could use the $5 meal plan if food expenses pull you away from your budget.
You can have a weekly meal plan and shopping list for just $5 a month (a tiny fraction of the food cost). Every yummy meal costs you less than $2.
Not only do you not have to scratch your head and think about what to eat for the next meal, but you get a shopping list when you hit the grocery store.The meal plan has got you covered.
Every cent on food is under control.
#13 Keep Your Money Away
This is the easiest way to stop unnecessary spending.
If you don’t have extra money, you can’t overspend. It’s as simple as that.
Plan your money as you plan your day.
Only take the money you need for the day and leave your credit cards/debit cards at home when you head out.
#14 Limit The Use Of Social Media
It is challenging to avoid social media, especially for people whose work is entirely on social media platforms.
But you can have a positive money mindset. Always make sure your spending habits are in line with your financial goals.
Don’t let the stunning images and tempting videos become another reason for you to break the bank.
#15 Fall In Love With Delayed Gratification
Delaying the purchase date is a great way to curb impulse buys.
When you see something you like next time, consider waiting 24 hours, two weeks, or even a month before making a purchase.
For example, you can have a 24-hour cooling-off period for items under $50 and 30 days for goods over $500.
Most of the time, you probably don’t want the item as much as you think you do or already forget the thing. But if you still want it and it falls into your budget after the cooling-off moment, take it.
#16 Do A No-Spend Challenge
Are you ready to challenge yourself to stop spending money for a month?
During the 30 days, you can only spend money on necessities (e.g., food, rent, and utility bills).
Stop spending money on unnecessary things for a month, and you will be amazed by how much you could save and how little you actually need.
#17 Celebrate Small Wins
Celebrating small wins is an excellent way to motivate yourself to work towards your money goals.
Set milestones within your budget and reward yourself for your effort.
For example, You aim to cut down on food expenses from $1800 to $450 a month, and you spend $1000 in the first month. You can appreciate your progress.
Get something you like but inexpensive (like a bar of chocolate) to reward yourself instead of pampering yourself with a day at a luxury spa.
#18 Consider A Frugal Living Lifestyle
Being frugal doesn’t take away the fun and enjoyable part of life from you.
Frugal people tend to make smarter financial decisions. Instead of spending money on unnecessary things, they buy things that truly bring value to their life.
If you are new to frugality, you might want to check out my best frugal living tips to save over $10,000. (Nobody talks about #3!)
#19 Make More Money
Developing new hobbies to make more money in your free time could shift your focus from spending to earning.
Instead of emptying your pocket, you are making money which gives you more wriggle-room for your budget.
Plus, you are more likely to save, invest and build your wealth along the way.
For me, I sold out all my unused items online to declutter my home and make some extra cash.
I also started this blog in my free time to distract me from spending money on things I don’t need.
If you are interested, you can check out my step-by-step guide to start your blog in minutes.
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Don’t Expect All Of These To Happen Overnight
Bad spending habits are not developed in a day, and certainly, they will not be gone overnight.
Building healthier spending habits takes time as well. Take your time to make changes.
If you are too harsh on yourself, you might go the opposite way and start spending like crazy (binge spending).
Don’t beat yourself up when you are in the process.
To be honest, I still have the shopping urge sometimes, but now I know how to deal with it in a healthier way. This is a game-changer to me.
Once you have mastered how to stop spending money on unnecessary things, you will have broken the bad spending habits and got closer to your financial goals.
Final Thoughts – How To Stop Spending MoneyUnnecessarily
Now you know how to stop spending money on stuff you don’t need.
It is your turn to be mindful of your spending habits and develop a positive money mindset to achieve your financial goals.
With your effort, dedication and self-control, your future self and finances will thank you.
What are your best ways to stop spending money on unnecessary things? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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