Tips For Disciplining Yourself Against Unnecessary Spending
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Tips For Disciplining Yourself Against Unnecessary Spending

Posted on Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 10:13 am
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You planned out your budget.  You promised yourself that you would stick to it.  Now comes the difficult part – following through with those good intentions!  There are some tricks that you can use to help discipline yourself against unnecessary spending.

The first thing you need to do is figure out your triggers.  What is it, exactly, that influences you to buy something that you were not originally intending to purchase?  You need to become consciously aware of when you are about to buy an item in response to that trigger, instead of because you actually need something.

For example, many people tend to pick up a few unnecessary items while they are waiting in line at the grocery store.  This is exactly why the store places magazines, candy bars, and other little things in that space.  If this is your trigger, then you need to be mindful about what you add to your cart at the last minute.

Another trick is to leave your credit cards at home.  If you make yourself pay with cash, then you force yourself to really think before you buy something.  There is something about holding actual money in your hand that makes spending that money feel more real.  It also imposes a limit on how much you can actually spend.  Credit cards, on the other hand, make it really easy to spend a lot of money without thinking about it.

One exception to this rule is with store credit cards.  Some of them will give you a discount on your purchases if you pay for it with your store credit card.  If you are intending on shopping at a certain store, for a particular item, then go ahead and bring that store’s credit card with you.  You cannot use that card at any other store, so this limits the potential of unnecessary spending.  Buy that one item you needed.  Get your discount from using the store credit card.  Stop shopping!

Positive reinforcement can be helpful.  Take the time to figure out exactly what you can afford to spend this week.  Keep track of everything you spent that week.  Promise yourself a small reward if you manage to stay within your budget.  The reward has to be something that you really enjoy, and that you don’t let yourself have very often.

This makes you think before you buy something.  Is it worth it go over budget right now for some item that just happened to catch your eye?  Or, would you rather have the opportunity to enjoy your reward?


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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.