Sometimes, we just need to stop spending money. Whether you’re saving up for a big trip to Europe or maybe your savings account is just looking a bit slim, we’ve all been there. But what are we supposed to do when we’re already following the “generic” advice? You know, the “bring your lunch to work instead of eating out” and “buy the generic orange juice instead of name brand” advice. The advice we’ve probably been following for a while now, to no avail? Well, then it’s time for some tough love ways to stop spending money.
6 Tough-Love Ways to Save for the Already-Frugal Spender
Write down every purchase you make for an entire month.
Nowadays everything is online, which is great! It makes tracking your spending and your purchases that much easier. It’s all in your banking app on your phone, or maybe that budgeting app that you use. And you totally check it everyday. Right…?
Here’s the problem with those apps: it’s incredibly easy to lose track of what you’re actually spending when all you can see are lists of numbers with abbreviated references. It’s incredibly easy to ignore it. And when you need to stop spending money? The last thing you want to do is stop keeping track of your spending habits.
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So if you really need to stop spending money, it’s time for a mindset reset. Forget about going paperless: we are writing. Everything. Down. And I mean everything! That $3.99 scone from Starbucks, that $1.29 Coke from the vending machine, that $49.99 shirt from LOFT that you just ordered online. Write it all down and keep track of it for an entire month. Not only will you get a better grip on what you’re actually spending as you go, but you’ll also be less likely to spend money on superfluous things that you don’t need.Sometimes we just need a mindset reset to stop spending money. Forget paperless: write EVERYTHING that you spend money on in a month on a piece of paper to really get a grip on your expenses. Click To Tweet
Don’t eat out on the weekends.
We’ve all heard that one of the best ways to stop spending money is to “bring your lunch to work instead of eating out,” but what if we already do that? Sure, I used to eat out at work maybe once a week, but for the most part I always packed a lunch. So that piece of advice? Yeah, it did absolutely nothing for me.
But what really helped me stop spending money was to cut out eating a restaurants and fast food chains altogether from my diet. That’s right, even on weekends. I realized that most of my plans with friends revolved around getting brunch or grabbing drinks outside of work. And since Fred and I don’t live together (yet…), we fell into the habit of eating out on the weekends, too, instead of cooking for ourselves.
So while my weekly grocery bill was maybe $40 a week, I would spend at least $60 a weekend at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. I essentially undid all of the savings I kept from bringing my own lunch to work every time the weekend rolled around!
Cancel at least one monthly subscription.
“But I can’t live without my Netflix!!” I can hear you protesting. But no worries, because I’m here to tell you: if you didn’t want tough love solutions, you came to the wrong place.
Monthly subscriptions can be a big source of savings, depending on what you subscribe to and how you use them. But they can also be a huge money drain. Why? Because they’re so regular, and you’re so used to having them that you forget to factor that money into your budget for the month.
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Don’t believe me? Well, then let’s look at some of the common monthly subscriptions that most millennials have:
- Netflix: $9.99/mo
- Boxycharm: $22.79/mo
- Gym Membership: $100.00/mo
- FabFitFun: $49.99/quarter
- HBO GO: $14.99/mo
- Spotify + Hulu student package: $4.99/mo
- Amazon Prime: $119/year
- Ipsy/Birchbox: $9.99/mo
- Moviepass: $9.99/mo
How many of these do you have? And about how much are you spending per month on them? If you want to stop spending money, the easiest way to do so is to get rid of one or two monthly subscriptions. I can almost guarantee that you won’t even miss them once they’re gone.Monthly subscriptions are “passive expenses” that kill your monthly budget, especially if you forget to factor them into each paycheck. Stop spending money on at least one of them, your wallet will thank you! Click To Tweet
Stop convincing yourself that sales are worth it.
Now, I want you to think back to the last thing that you purchased. In fact, I want you to think back to the last thing that you impulse bought. Here’s my question: was your reasoning “it was on sale!!” or was it something else? Be honest with yourself.
Sales exist for one reason, and it’s not to save you money. No, retailers either want to get rid of merchandise (think clearances) or they want to dramatically increase their revenue while sacrificing only a little bit of margin. You know those tried and true “Friends and family discount!! Take 15% off!” emails you get from different brands? Yeah, those.
In reality, unless you were already planning on purchasing something because you actually need it, sales aren’t actually helping you. They’re just hurting you. And I guarantee you that if you stop spending money on all of those random sales, you’ll end up pocketing a lot more at the end of the month!
Get out of the “treat yo-self” mentality.
Here’s some tough love for you: “treat yo-self” has a time and place in life, but it doesn’t belong with the stop spending money mindset. I’m telling you right now: if you want to get your money under control, throw “treat yo-self” out the window.
Getting your nails done every weekend isn’t “treating yourself” when you need to stop spending money, it’s a superfluous purchase. Going out for drinks every other night because work is hard isn’t “treating yourself” when your budget is tight, it’s a waste of your paycheck. Dropping $200 for one clothing item when your credit card statement is high isn’t “treating yourself,” it’s reckless.
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When you need to stop spending money, the “treat yo-self” mentality will only hold you back. But if you can’t get rid of it completely? At least adjust it a little bit. Opt for a wine night in with your girlfriends and paint your own nails, host a potluck at your apartment, go to the beach and split gas and parking with three friends. Your have endless options to treat yourself that won’t break your bank.The #treatyoself mentality isn't healthy if you need to stop spending money, it's reckless! Find more budget friendly alternatives to your traditional splurges to help you save instead. Click To Tweet
Limit yourself to one or two major purchases a month.
“Yeah, I can afford this, it’s only $7,” You think to yourself as you toss your umpteenth mauve lipstick into your CVS cart before checking out. The next day you think the same thing about that $13 travel size skincare item in the checkout line at Sephora, and that $3 add-on item in your Amazon cart the next week, and the $15 shirt the next weekend. . . See what I’m getting at?
This is what I like to call “idle shopping.” Since you’re not spending a ton of money all at once, you think it’s totally fine to drop a few dollars here and there on some stuff that you want. And you’re right, if you’re only doing this occasionally it’s totally fine! But more likely than not you do this way more often than you think and rather than stop spending money, you end up spending way more than you normally would have had you bought it all at once.
My solution? Limit yourself to one or two days a month for shopping, and get everything done then. Don’t allow yourself to idly shop while you’re bored at work or as you’re walking to Starbucks. Buy everything all at once and see how that hurts your wallet. I guarantee you’ll think twice about that travel-sized skincare item with and $94 cart of things you actually want.
What’s your number one trick to stop spending money? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share this with a friend who could stand to learn a thing or two!