Bad spending habits — we all (well, I’d like to think we all) have them. But whether it’s an Amazon addiction, that mid-afternoon coffee habit, or your tendency to swing by Target when you need a little pick-me-up (guilty), there are better ways to spend your time and your money – especially if you’re trying to save more or meet your budget. And because baby steps are always a good way to get started, here are six super simple, super quick ways to curb your spending and change those habits for good.
Schedule Spending-Free Days
Pick one day each week where you won’t spend any money – nope, not a dime. Then, actually sit down and spend two minutes loading it into your calendar, complete with a recurring schedule and an alert to remind you the day before. Why? That little reminder will help you plan ahead. You know, so you don’t get caught on your spending-free day without dinner plans, or with an empty gas tank.
Unsubscribe from Retailer Emails
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Unfortunately, it seems to work both ways. Meaning, all those emails you get from your favorite stores? They’re not helping you keep your money in your bank account. To reduce your temptation to spend, set aside some time and dedicate yourself to unsubscribing to each and every email that makes you think seriously about pulling out your credit card. Unroll.me is a great service to make purging your inbox easy.
Tell Social Media “No Thanks”
You’ve unsubscribed from all your favorite retailer emails, but suddenly those shoes you’ve been eyeing? They’re all over your Instagram feed. It may not be a permanent solution, but go ahead and take 30 seconds to hide that ad. Say it’s not relevant. Say you’ve seen too much of it. But get it out of your feed, and further away from your shopping-ready fingers. In the future when you do need to shop online, use a private “incognito” window so retailers can’t follow and tempt you with that same coffee table you already decided against.
Limit Your Access
Okay, the absolute easiest way to curb your spending? Remove your direct access to money. Take a look at your income and budget and figure out exactly how much money you have left over each paycheck. Then, spend a few minutes setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account and move that leftover money directly into savings each pay period. If it’s gone, you can’t spend it. (Although, spoiler, you can obviously move it back into your checking account if you really end up needing it.)
Create Daily Reminders
Is there a particular time of day when you’re extra susceptible to extraneous spending? Like that 2pm coffee run? Or right before bed, when you’re watching Netflix and scrolling through your social media feeds? Set up a recurring reminder or affirmation in your phone for that exact time – and help yourself spend a little less. “I am good at saving money,” would be one positive-minded option. “Seriously, don’t buy more stuff,” is also effective.
Seek Out Accountability
You know what always helps me spend less money? Knowing that someone else knows that I’m trying to not spend money. Even better? Taking a minute to send a text and touch base with that person regularly to let them know you’re still focused on curbing your spending. This works great if you have a particularly frugal-minded partner (hi, honey!) but is also possible with the assistance of a friend who’s up for supporting your spending habits – or new lack thereof.