What is the Best Way to Stop Spending?

Susan Grindstaff

Many people are able to stop spending by simply adopting a budget and sticking to it. Others, however, may have difficulty following such a simple plan. Some general tips that may help control spending habits include carrying cash instead of credit cards, avoiding shopping for anything other than essential needs, and spending more time at home. For those who suffer addictions to shopping, it may be necessary to seek professional help in order to stop spending.

Using a debit card may make a person more likely to spend money.
Using a debit card may make a person more likely to spend money.

Studies show that people who carry credit or debit cards are more likely to overspend or make impulse purchases than those who carry cash. This may be because buying power is limited by the amount of cash being carried, whereas with most credit cards, shoppers can easily exceed what they can really afford to pay. This tends to make impulse purchases easier to justify, and puts virtually no restraints on spending.

Setting a limit on websites might help reduce spending.
Setting a limit on websites might help reduce spending.

Many financial advisers recommend that a weekly budget be adopted, with funds set aside for household expenses, recurring monthly bills, and miscellaneous expenditures. Once the budget is in place, it is a good idea to keep a written record of expenditures. In this way, it is easy to see where money is being spent, and that knowledge is crucial to developing good spending habits.

Shopping addicts have a hard time adopting methods to stop spending.
Shopping addicts have a hard time adopting methods to stop spending.

People are often surprised to discover just how much money they spend on miscellaneous items. For instance, when shopping for groceries, many people end up adding magazines or books to their shopping cart, or when going out for a paper, they may stop for ice cream. All of these items are non-essential spending, but over the period of a month, these purchases can add up to a surprising amount of money.

Keeping an eye on credit card balances may help with over spending.
Keeping an eye on credit card balances may help with over spending.

For those who have real problems controlling spending, it is probably a good idea to avoid shopping online. The temptation to spend is sometimes much greater because the selection is so broad and purchases can be made in an instant. In addition, when shopping online, it is hard to avoid using a debit or credit card. If it is necessary to shop online, it is probably a good idea to limit browsing to sites that sell exactly what is needed.

Eating out at bars and restaurants frequently can be costly.
Eating out at bars and restaurants frequently can be costly.

Some people have trouble adopting methods to stop spending because they suffer from shopping addiction. They are literally unable to resist spending money, no matter how frivolous the purchase. For these people, counseling may be needed to help them learn the self-control necessary to be able to stop spending. Some drug rehabilitation centers offer programs that specialize in the treatment and management of shopping addiction.

Espressos are one item that can often be cut to save money.
Espressos are one item that can often be cut to save money.
A fixed budget does not allow any wiggle room for extra or unforeseeable monetary needs.
A fixed budget does not allow any wiggle room for extra or unforeseeable monetary needs.

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