How to Stop Spending Money: A Guide

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Do you have some big financial goals? Struggling to pay off debt? I know I do, and it’s really tough. I’ve had to learn how to stop spending money. – which hasn’t been an easy thing. Especially when it seems like everyone around me spends however they want.

I was drawn to frugality and frugal living a long time ago and have a tendency to leave and come back to it. Spending money is like an addiction – and one that I can’t quite kick. But I’m in my 30s now, raising kids, trying to pay off debt… Things have to change.

How to Stop Spending Money

Sometimes we just go through spendy periods in our lives. The pandemic is a great example – many of us had to get situated to work from home or spend extra money entertaining the kids. In our house, we just ordered Starlink – an unexpected $800 purchase that’s going to be huge for our tech forward family.

It’s OK, and often necessary, to spend money sometimes. You might have even gone into debt. That’s OK too.

This year, thanks in part to depression and lack of direction, we made some pretty big financial mistakes. Now we’re working hard at turning the tables and getting control over our finances.

To do that we have to learn how to stop spending money.

Set Clear and Realistic Money Goals

If you want to pay off $30,000 worth of debt in one year but only make $30,000 and have nearly that much in fixed expenses you’re not going to meet that goal. You have to set goals that are realistic, or find ways to make them happen by changing your situation.

A few questions to ask yourself about your money goals:

  1. Even under best case scenarios is my timeline realistic?
  2. Will I burn out before I can make this plan happen?
  3. Have I accounted for everything? Is there room for surprises like car or home repairs, medical expenses, etc?
  4. What steps do I need to take to make this happen?

Stay Out of the Store

I’m not the only one who ends up overspending when they go shopping, I’m sure. Now with things like curbside pickup we can avoid impulse shopping by ordering just what we need.

Another thing I do is put a bunch of necessities on my Amazon Subscribe and Save. That way I don’t have to make special trips to the pharmacy, or even the other end of the store, and instead get items delivered to my house every month. With the discount they end up the same price or cheaper!

Stick to Your List

Shopping sometimes is unavoidable. Costco where I live has no pickup or delivery options, which means going into the store. Whether you’re buying groceries or new shoes, it’s important to stick to your list and focus just on what you went shopping for. In fact, this is one of the best ways to stop spending money in my opinion.

Some ways to make it easier on your is to go right to the section that you need to be in. Do not browse. I know it can be tempting to just take a look, but looking almost always turns to shopping if you’re prone to spending.

Sign that says save while others are spending

Don’t Use Other People as an Excuse to Shop

I have kids and definitely have used them as an excuse to spend money unnecessarily. It’s so much easier to justify shopping when you’re doing it for someone else!

That doesn’t mean you should never buy gifts or treats, but just don’t go looking for the sake of it. You’ll not only spend money you don’t need to, but you’re also creating more clutter in your (or someone else’s) home.

Get Everyone on Board

You can’t do this alone. If it’s both you and your spouse that like to overspend then you’re going to have to work together on your plans. It has to be a team effort or they could undermine your goals.

Another thing to consider is that you’ll need support. This is a major lifestyle change!

Stay Off Social Media

Perfect Pinterest kitchens make me so tempted to gut my super ugly (but functional) kitchen and replace it with something nicer. Of course, I’m not going to – but I definitely feel less content with my home when I visit those sites.

That’s why I tell people when they’re working on spending less to stay away from that stuff. Instead, search for things that encourage your goals instead. Surround yourself in a no spend, frugal, or debt pay off culture.

Another thing you might want to consider is minimalism. It often goes hand in hand with ending spending because it encourages you to spend less.

Immerse Yourself in No Spending Money “Culture”

This plays on what I said about social media. Curate your feeds and create friendships with like-minded people. That way everywhere you look you’ll see motivation and encouragement. No more Joneses to keep up with.

Another thing you can do is read books and blog posts. I find educating myself on different frugal living tips helps. I also like hearing motivational stories from people in other situations.

Here’s a few posts to get you started:

Make Room for Fun and Treats

I know I shouldn’t know what I’m getting for my birthday but I happen to know I have a pair of expenses sunglasses on the way. I like practical gifts so it’s perfect, plus they’re super trendy and fun.

When you’re trying to figure out how to stop spending money you need to have things to enjoy and look forward to. What this new way of life will do is make more room for the things you love. That way you’re spending money on what you want with a plan. Rather than just on anything.

Money in a wallet - how to stop spending money

Take Advantage of Free Entertainment

The best things in life truly are free. There are so many ways to you can have fun without spending money. You just have to adjust what activities you want to do yourself or with your family.

One way I like to keep free entertainment free is by packing treats and snacks. That keeps us from having impulse buys. For example, the beach has a great snack shack – but we don’t need $7 chicken tenders.

Why You Can’t Seem to Stop Spending Money

There’s so many reasons why shopping is addictive. Everyone gets a rush when they spend! I personally have come from struggling so as soon as we ended up with extra money it was tempting to spend it and take care of those things that we’ve been neglected.

Some of that is good – we got the kids’ teeth fixed, ordered new glasses, finished the basement. But there were also so many meals out. Money wasted at decorating stores. Frivolous, unnecessary purchases.

It’s really tough to take that spendy lifestyle and turn it into something more frugal. At first you really do feel like you’re doing without and missing out.

You Can Change

Once you start building up your frugality muscles it becomes a lot easier to avoid purchases. If you take a few steps and learn how to stop saving money you can really snowball that into a frugal lifestyle.

Remember, this is your life. You don’t need to be accountable to anyone but your family. Getting out of debt is a better feeling than any of these little purchases will ever be!