Do you find yourself spending money when you really need to be saving or paying off your debts instead? If so, you’re not alone. Many people impulse buy even when they really can’t afford to and in some cases, they spend more than they actually earn. It’s a fact that impulse buyers are less likely to consider the consequences of their spending and this could lead to financial problems and ultimately, debt. Our blog looks at the psychology involved and tips to help people who want to stop spending.
There is a definite psychology involved when it comes to spending money unnecessarily and it can be linked to anxiety, stress and general unhappiness. According to Psychology Today, people who purchase impulsively often do so to improve their mood. When you think about it, shopping is fun and pleasure is experienced from buying something new. The problem is that this pleasure is only temporary as the novelty of owning something new soon wears off.
Here are some great tips to help you if you would like to stop spending money:
- Calculate your yearly spend
If you find yourself spending money regularly on cigarettes, alcohol, clothes, magazines, chocolate or other impulse items that you don’t necessarily need; try calculating how much money you spend on these items over the course of a year. Check your statements for the last 12 months and add up the amount. It might just be enough to stop you spending on some of these things in the future.
- Recognise needs from wants
Ask yourself the following questions if you find yourself tempted to spend on something. Do you NEED it? Or do you just WANT it? If you need it, can you actually afford it? Or can it wait until your finances are in better shape? If you really want something so badly, don’t buy it the same day. Walk away and if you still really want it badly in a few days’ time, then at least you’ll have thought the purchase through properly.
- Compare the cost of the purchase to “real work hours”
If you’re tempted to spend money impulsively, a good way to understand the true value of such a purchase is to calculate how long you’ll need to work for it. For example, if you want to spend £500 on a last minute weekend away, work out how many hours at your day job you’ll need to work to pay for it (add more time on to account for interest if you’re paying using credit). Sometimes, this is just the kind of reality check that you’ll need to decide whether you really do want to spend that money after all.
- Use cash not cards
It’s incredibly easy to swipe your credit card and forget about it until another day. Yet handing over cash rather than plastic is a definite deterrent when it comes to spending money. No-one actually enjoys parting with pure hard cash.
- Take a photo of your old things
Before you spend, check out the things you already have. Maybe they’re old, worn, or you just don’t like them as much as you used to. Lay them out on the floor and take a photo of everything you can to keep in your purse or wallet. When you want to spend money, take a look at the photo and ask yourself whether you really want to add more to the things you already have (and don’t actually use).
- Keep busy
Find ways to occupy your free time that don’t involve much opportunity for nipping out to the shops or searching online for the latest deals. Making the most of free activities or trying out a new inexpensive hobby will leave you with less time to be tempted to spend money.
- Set yourself a no spending challenge
If you determinedly set yourself a no spend challenge, you might find that you enjoy it! You could try one no spend day per week at first. Take a packed lunch and a flask of coffee to work and try cycling rather than taking the car if you can. If you find this easy, you could increase your challenge to two or three spend days per week!
The most effective way to stop spending money on things you don’t need is to change your financial mind-set. This means evaluating what really does make you happy in life and whether impulse buys will help or hinder what you want to achieve. Will making that purchase today delay or even stop you from achieving what you want to do in the future?