All Financial Education

5 Guidelines to Help Break Bad Spending Habits

October 23, 2015

Woman holding bags in a shopping mall

We may not want to admit it, but we probably all have at least a few bad spending habits. Maybe you do a little too much online shopping or you dine out a few more days than your pocketbook can really handle. Note that what one person may consider overspending for themselves may not be overspending for your budget. The key is knowing how much you can afford to spend in all the areas of your life.

The first step to financial freedom is creating a budget. Once you have a budget in place, the good news is that, although it may be hard at first, if we follow a few simple guidelines, we can really curb our bad spending habits so that we feel we are in a better place financially and mentally.

Take some time to think about your purchases

Obviously, if you need a loaf of bread, you probably won’t need to sleep on it. However, maybe you can get a much better deal on your bread at one store over another. Plan out your purchasing so you are maximizing your dollar at less expensive stores. If you are looking to buy a new tablet, research what will work best for you and where you can get the best deal. Make sure you really need or want that new tablet and that your budget won’t be strained by the purchase. For bigger ticket items, think about it for a few days instead of rushing into a decision.

Always know what you are going to buy before you start shopping

Don’t go blindly shopping in a store or even online. Know what you want to buy so you don’t get sidetracked. Stick to your budget and plan your spending ahead of time so you don’t end up with a bunch of stuff you probably don’t even need.

Use cash and only bring the amount of money you want to spend

If you have $50 budgeted for groceries for the day, then bring $50 in cash. Leave your credit and debit cards at home. If you don’t have your cards with you, you’ll be forced to stick to your goal and won’t be able to cheat.

Think about why you are spending money

Do you have triggers that push you to spend money? Maybe you like to online shop when you are stressed out or bored. Know why you are spending money and if you find yourself in a situation where you have a money-spending trigger, have a plan of action. Turn off the computer and go for a walk or have a friend or family member you can call so you avoid the situation.

Have a goal to work towards

Maybe your goal is to simply be less stressed when it comes to finances. Maybe you want to save for a Hawaiian vacation. Whatever the reason for breaking your bad spending habits, make sure to clearly identify your goal. You can’t get to where you want to go without knowing where you want to be! Having a goal in place gives you focus and will keep you motivated when you feel like giving up.