The first trick to stop over-spending is to understand what triggers it within you to begin with. Most of us spend based on emotional and psychological triggers that cause temptation in us when we see an opportunity to spend money. And, with the internet, we are able to create our own opportunity to over-spend money. When you head out for the day, here are some things to keep in mind.
Try shopping when you have less energy, such as at the end of the day. Instead of going to the grocery at 10 am on your day off, try going after work. This way, you won’t have free time to think about how you’ve been meaning to teach yourself every recipe in Martha Stewart’s cookbook. You should also think about your environment. For example, holidays tend to make people want to impulsively spend their money. This is what stores hope you will do. For example, grocery stores will put cake and cookie decorating kits at the front of the store. They know that holiday season inspires people to want to learn to bake all sorts of treats and dishes. While these are fun things to do, ingredients to make all of these things are very expensive.
You should definitely take into account peer pressure. Before you hit the town on Friday night with your friends, set a drink and time limit before you go out. That way, you only spend money on one or two drinks versus three or four. Let them know ahead of time that you have an early day, and won’t be staying out with them too late. When they expect you to be leaving ahead of time, the pressure won’t be as bad when it comes time for you to grab your purse to head home, and the guilt won’t roll in. If your friends suggest a fancy dinner on Saturday, let them know you’re trying to stop spending so much money, and ask if you can try the new, cheaper Chinese restaurant that you all haven’t been to yet, rather than the expensive one you always go to.
It’s usually the tiny purchases that tend to add up to the largest amount at the end of the month. This is why it is important to keep track of what you’re spending your money on. When you do, you may find that you want to stop spending the few dollars here and there on coffees, magazines, lunches, and little things of that nature. Just cut back on these things, and you’ll find that your bank account is looking larger than usual!