I spend $$$ every day on crap. How can I stop???

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
819 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

@chicagoworkinggirl:  I’m trying to fight this too! As for food, I’ve been trying to plan EVERY meal and take lunch to work with me everyday. It’s much easier to say no to eating out when you already have lunch in the refrigerator or when you have a plan in place. It also helps me to eat healthier too!

Also trying coming up with a budget and stick to it. Maybe give yourself an “allowance” and when that allowance is gone, that’s it – no dipping into the money in the bank!

Post # 4
3756 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I started using the envelope system. Budget your money, take out the cash you are allowed to spend and put it into envelopes (one for groceries, one for gas, etc). I can only spend what’s in the envelope. I have to hide my cards so I don’t just use them whenever. It’s hard!!!

Post # 5
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@chicagoworkinggirl:  Make it more difficult to access your money.  This may not work right now but in the future, make a weekly and monthly budget of what you can afford to spend on non-essential things like the ones you listed, and only take out that much cash then leave your debit card at home.  It makes it much more difficult to make frivolous purchases when you actually see the money you’re spending.  Another trick I do is force myself to walk around the store longer and rethink my purchases and put back things I don’t really need or can wait for the next paycheck.

Post # 6
3534 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

The best advice I have is to carry a cash allowance with you.  You’ll be less likely to spend on unnecessary things when you can actually “see” the cash dwindling down as opposed to using your debit/credit card.

I’m really bad about spending money on coffee/frappes and I started doing this.  That, and to keep on driving past the place and go home after work.  I’m more likely to stop while I’m out, than if I were to go home first.

Post # 7
4483 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I was just about to post some thing like this. Now that it’s been deemed acceptable to start holiday shopping (not that I waited) I’m having trouble not going crazy. I rarely buy something that costs more than about $20. I just don’t realize how the little things add up.

here are some things you can do

1. Keep an expense list. When I look at how much I’ve spent already, I’m less likely to spend more.

2. Online, leave things in your cart for a few days, unless it’s something really crucial. If you still want it after a few days, then consider buying. This stops impulse purchases.

3. Mark all promo emails as spam. If you need a promo code, look one up, but sales are bonuses when you need so ething, not excuses to buy things you don’t really want.

4. Don’t save your credit infor on websites. The more convenient it is, the more chance you’ll do it.

5. Only go on online shopping sites with a goal in mind. Like, “I need a new black sweater” instead of, “I wonder if Macy’s has any sales”.

I’m willing to be an accountability buddy if you need one

Post # 8
2319 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I do this with food (snacks, drinks, dinner with friends) too.

As for advice on how to stop, I’d figure out what amount you want to have remaining in your account after you spend a little, that way, you still maintain your account with the amount of money in your account. You said you usually have about $50 left, so see which higher number you’d like the new amount to be.

Post # 9
1787 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@jny1179:  +1.  Use CASH only for spending money.  It’s so much harder to part with the cash you see and then consider that you’ll only have x amount left. 

Post # 10
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

leave your credit cards and bank cards at home and just carry a small amount of cash with you.  keep out only enough cash for the week.  the rest goes into the bank.

start a spreadsheet of your expenses for the month.  jot down every single item; even if it’s a pack of gum.  you will be amazed where your money goes.  when i first did this, i was shocked how much take out coffee adds up.  this usually gives you a bit of incentive to cut back on those non-essentials.

Post # 11
671 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I have a harder time not spending if I have cash on me.

So: I never, ever carry cash.

Additionally, I a) realize we are going to be tight financially for the next while b) have done the math and figured out exactly how much small things add up and c) know that my husband checks our bank account every couple days.

If we’re on a spending freeze, which we sort of are, I can’t really justify taking myself to lunch if he’s not spending either.


Post # 12
1327 posts
Bumble bee

Eating out for lunch, coffee, snacks, and especially dinners with friends and alcohol really add up!  Eating out and snacks are my downfall, too. 

What I do – and this isn’t for everyone, but it works for me – is I record how much money I spent each day and put it into a budget spreadsheet (which records exactly where my money went, how much I net, what my fixed expenses are, and my “extras” expenses are).  Every time I spend money, it’ll subtract from my net income so I see how much money I have left, and that really sobers me up and curbs my spending.

You don’t have to do it with so much detail though – maybe to begin with you can collect all your receipts every time you make a purchase and add them all up at the end of the day and input it into a notebook/agenda/calendar.  You’ll see how quickly money adds up and how many of those things you didn’t need, how much money you could easily have avoided spending.  (I like spreadsheets though, because they instantly do the math for you, so you could even just do one column.)

Something else that helps with my spending is having a goal to save for.  Right now, my #1 priority and what I want most in the world is to move out.  It’s going to cost me $6-7K (1st & last month’s rent, a month’s living expense amount as a cushion, furniture, linens, cookware, dinnerware, cleaning supplies, utilities set up fees, etc.).  When I want to make an impulse purchase I tell myself, “Tina, this money could go towards your new mattress/pots and pans/whatever.  Would you rather have this or keep living at home for another week?”

What might you like to save for?  A vacation? Finally starting a savings account? Your wedding? 😀

Post # 13
903 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I get paid every two weeks.  On payday, I pay all of my bills for the upcoming 2 weeks, put an appropriate amount into savings, and I’m left with exactly $50.  I can spend that $50 however I like, and once it’s gone, I have to wait until the next payday.  I don’t bother carrying cash.


So, figure out an amount you’re comfortable spending on “crap” and make it so that’s the only money readily available to you.

Post # 14
1626 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

One thing that I have done is sit down and add up how much over a 2 week period (a pay period for us) I spend on water, a clif bar, a soda, a candybar, whatever…and then I realize that I could have filled up my car with that. It always makes me feel really silly. Another thing I’ve done is that I buy the things that I would buy at the shop here at work at the grocery store where it’s cheaper. For instance, I bring oatmeal every day. A big bag of oatmeal at Sam’s Club is like $8 for what I consider to be a ridiculous amount of oats. I’m just now starting to run low and I’ve had the oats for at LEAST 6 months. And I’ve made more oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with them than I can imagine at 3 cups of oats PER batch. So my oatmeal breakfast is like 8 cents instead of $2.

I bring a sandwich every day, a can of my own soda, my OWN water bottle (that I refill at the water fountains), my own granola, and if I get bored with sandwiches and yogurt, I will bring leftovers. Or I’ll make a salad and bring a can of soup. It has saved FI and I a loooooooot of $$$$$$. And also my gas tank AND credit card thank me.

I also let myself have ONE splurge item per pay period (like…one trip to the store to buy something I want or want to get others – in this case it has recently been bridesmaid gifts). The rest goes to gas or groceries ONLY (or necessary things like medical bills, school books, etc).

I think that carrying cash would be an excellent idea. The only reason I don’t do it is bc I was in a bad spot with credit card debt a few years ago thanks to an ex and I have consolidated that onto one card, paid it off completely, and am now trying to build my credit back up. I literally pay my card off EVERY time I get paid and if there’s extra, I put it into savings and congratulate myself for having extra for our honeymoon. That’s really good incentive for me lol! Maybe give yourself some incentive too (I don’t need this granola bar, or these shoes, if I’m saving up for a super sweet vacation!)

ETA: I also log in and look at my bank account EVERY DAY to keep myself in check. If I get too ridiculous I look and see how much I added on and it immediately makes me feel bad and stiffens my resolve and brings me into line.

Post # 15
265 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@chicagoworkinggirl:  For me it comes down to planning. What i’m about to tell you isn’t necessarily “fun” but it has helped me save lots of money for our wedding.  It really does come down to preplanning.  It’s not that you have to be perfect, but more often than not a little preplanning will save you some money.

When it comes to food: try and plan out what you’re goint to eat that week.  Perhaps start off with a full chicken, then make a soup/stew and  then do chicken enchiladas, or a chicken salad. Or start off with a pot roast on sunday, and then break it down to roast beef sandwiches during the week, and then maybe steak wraps, or garden salad with steak.

When it comes to lunch: whatever you cook at home make sure you have enough for lunch the following day and get some totes to pack with your lunches.  There’s nothing easier than your prepacked lunch where all you have to do is heat it up.

When it comes to snacks/smoothies/coffee:  Try to buy in bulk or when there’s a sale.  COUPONS too.  Also try healthier snacks not just prepackaged.  Perhaps carrots/peppers with hummus, cucumbers and salsa, etc. Yeah, healthier ususally means more money, but carrots and hummus sticks with you more than a cardboard bar lacking fiber.  The Dole Shakers in your freezer aisle are pretty good for a smoothie where all you need to add is OJ.

When it comes to eating out:  Spoil yourself but make it more of a treat then every weekend going out.  We eat most of our meals at home.  Also try and do non food activities with friends, meet up at odd times (between meals), have a dinner party potluck style.

When it comes to clothes:  I only buy what I can wear to work. I work in a professional office setting.  Some people wear nice jeans on friday, but most of management wears business casual.  If I can’t wear it to work, I don’t buy it.   Yeah my wardrobe has become quite boring, but now its mix and matches and I don’t have to go through my closet every morning wondering what to pick. Since everything goes with everything.


Post # 16
1327 posts
Bumble bee

@Laurenplusalex:  I second numbers 2 and 3.  I used to practise #2 in stores, too, LOL.

When I was really super dirt poor as a student I’d go into a store, walk around, pick up everything that I might want.  Then I’ll add up everything – inevitably, it’d all add up to be a high number that I can’t afford.  So I’ll keep walking around the store, keep admiring everything, and gradually talk myself (in my head, LOL) out of things I don’t need, one at a time.  I’ve ended up walking out empty-handed or with just 1 or 2 things because usually I didn’t actually need any of it. 

When I see something I want at a store, I’ll commit to not buying it for 1-4 weeks, depending on how pricey the item is.  If at the end of the period I still really, really want it, I’ll get it.  I find that a lot of things were just impulses at the time!

I’ve even used this method in kind of an extreme way – for example, I wanted a jersey for La Roja (Spanish national football/soccer team) for about 2 or 3 years before I actually bought it, LOL.

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