We asked Ashley Kuru from House 143 Finance to write today’s post explaining how to stop spending money. She’s a perfect example of someone who successfully learned how to stop spending money impulsively.
When we reduced our spending by over $23,000 and I discovered the secret to saving money when you don’t have the willpower (hint: I’ve been doing that now for almost seven years straight!), I loved reading the success stories of people who had conquered that before me.
I get so many amazing emails from readers that have gone through our 90 Day Budget Bootcamp (which you can join here for free) or taken Hot Mess to Home Success that are inspiring and give real life examples about how to tackle your own budget and home and we wanted to be able to start sharing them with you.
Today’s post is a perfect example of this.
You can learn so much from reading about how Ashley finally took control of her spending and saved a lot of money by eliminating impulse purchases. And, I love how she breaks it down into steps that you can easily implement into your own life.
Here’s what Ashley says…
I am going to teach you how to save money when you are an impulsive spender. Not only is it possible for you, but if you don’t learn how to stop spending money when you are an impulsive spender it will lead you down a path to financial destruction later in life.
You have to save, or you will be unable to prepare yourself for emergencies, build a solid foundation for your future, or reach any of your financial goals.
Before I was able to break my impulsive spending habits, my life was a day to day struggle of fighting my impulse to spend and making sure my bills were all paid. I was making a good salary at the time, but whenever my paycheck hit my account I would spend it immediately.
Living Paycheck to Paycheck
I was living paycheck to paycheck and had absolutely no reason to be in this vicious cycle of spending, full of fear and regret.
And because I bought what I wanted, whenever I wanted, regardless of whether or not I had the money in my account … I had a credit card.
I had no control over my actions and to be honest, I really didn’t want to. I enjoyed buying stuff so much and I could push the feelings of guilt and regret way down deep.
My problems didn’t just lie in my actions of constantly spending money impulsively, it was also in my mindset. I was always able to convince myself to spend the money.
I was able to talk myself into buying whatever I wanted because was getting a great deal.
Not to mention the fear of missing out on the product or service I wanted. I was afraid that it wouldn’t be around forever so I better snatch it up immediately.
After I got married and my son was born, I decided to work part-time so I could spend more time at home and save money on childcare.
My money situation and spending habits had gotten a little better because I was distracted by a newborn baby, and honestly was just too exhausted to shop. However, these good times did not last long, but because I had a new baby in my life…
I knew I needed to change.
That is when I finally made the decision to sit down and face this issue head-on by looking at what I was spending money on.
After a lot of tears, I created my first budget.
How to Stop Spending Money
My transformation did not happen overnight or even in a few months.
It took a few years, but when I learned how to stop spending money and I was finally able to create a budget that works… It allowed me to spend money to keep myself happy, pay off debt, and still save enough to build a large emergency fund to prepare for any financial emergencies.
The steps I took to make this happen for me weren’t easy but they were necessary. And they showed me that I am capable of breaking my impulsive spending habits and saving money.
I'll break this down so you can learn how to break your spending habits and finally save money…
Find Your Why
You need a “why” in your life, a reason why you are doing this. Your “why” will always be there to remind you to keep going when it gets tough and, it will definitely get tough.
My “why” was my son but you can choose anything for yours…
- Getting out of debt
- Needing to buy a house.
- Working part time.
- Wanting to stay at home.
You can choose anything.
Just make sure it will be powerful enough to keep you going when it feels like you can’t.
Face The Truth
Make yourself face the truth of your impulse spending.
I knew I needed to scare myself and to see the damage I had done. In order to successfully do that, I printed off my bank statements for the entire previous year, and went through each and every expense.
I had to face everything I had spent money on.
It wasn’t easy, there were A LOT of tears but it was what I really needed to do in order to make myself see what I was doing.
Make a Plan
Now you need to make a plan, and by “plan”, I mean a budget.
After all, a budget is really just a plan for your money. Put yourself on a budget but don’t try to make yourself quit spending money right away. That is not going to work, trust me, I tried and I failed hard.
Instead, create a category in your budget just for your impulse spending.
I lumped all of mine into a miscellaneous category because every expense that fit into that category was impulsive.
By giving yourself permission to spend money on impulse purchases, you will immediately take the guilt and regret away. (Note from Rosemarie: This is one of the steps we teach in Hot Mess to Home Success and people can’t believe what an enormous difference it makes. This is one of the biggest factors to success).
It will do wonders, I promise. You will become much more aware of what you spend money on when you actually PLAN to spend the money.
Have Constraints When It Comes To Spending
Creating constraints for how you spend your money allows you to take back your power when it comes to your impulses.
The constraints that work best for me are…
Waiting a certain period of time before I buy something.
I always make myself wait at least 24 hours before I buy something now. This gives me time to decide if I TRULY want it and lets the initial “impulse” feelings wear off. A lot of times I never make the purchase.
Budget for impulse purchases.
I mentioned this before, but to me, it is so important.
You have to budget for the extra spending you know you will do. If you don’t, you will end up taking money from another category in your budget which creates a domino effect and eventually your budget will fail.
When you plan for the expenses ahead of time you will be far less likely to go over budget in any category.
Set financial goals and focus on them constantly.
This has made all of the difference for me.
I never had any financial goals to work towards so I had no way to be accountable for my spending because to me, what else was I going to do with that money?
Sure, I certainly had dreams like…
- Having a huge bank account.
- A new car.
- A better apartment.
- No debt.
But, they were only dreams. Once I turned these dreams into goals, the way I looked at my money changed.
I started saving money towards those goals and whenever I was able to reach one (like building a $1,000 emergency fund) it gave me so much motivation to continue saving money.
The key to constraints is to find out what your weaknesses are when it comes to impulse spending. Once you know that you can work from there to create rules about how you spend your money.
Other constraints I have in place that are more personal to my situation are…
- I only drink black coffee so I can avoid spending tons on specialty drinks
- I only wear neutral colored clothing pieces that all go together because my weakness was clothing.
Make Saving Money Easy
Saving money can seem like a challenge but there are ways to make it easier. Here's what I did…
Budget for savings.
The first way to make saving money easier is to budget for it.
If you don’t, you are not going to save any money. If you don’t plan to put money away each month, your financial goals will turn back into dreams. In my budget, savings has its own step after calculating my income and taking out my fixed and necessary expenses.
I do not treat saving money as just another line in the “expense” category. I budget for saving money before I budget for impulse spending, entertainment, and other unnecessary expenses.
That’s how important it is.
Automate saving as much as possible.
Automating your savings will take the work off your shoulders and guarantee you will actually save money.
I automate my savings by having a portion of my paycheck sent directly to my savings account through direct deposit.
Keep your savings just out of reach.
If you don’t trust yourself enough to leave your money in your savings account, put it out of reach. Just enough to make it hard to get when you want it for impulse spending, but not hard enough if you need to access it in an emergency.
Create goals, make them your priority, and focus on them whenever an impulse arises.
Lastly, to make saving money easier, create financial goals to save for, make them your priority, and focus on them whenever the impulse to spend money arises.
90 Day Budget Boot Camp
One thing that really pushed my progress forward and helped me create my best budget was The Busy Budgeter’s 90 Day Budget Bootcamp.
The 90 Day Budget Bootcamp helped me organize my budget better by breaking it down step-by-step. It taught me that it is not just important to create a budget, you also have to understand how your personality and your habits are affecting your budget in order to change it.
It made me dig deeper into my finances, and myself, than I ever had before. I needed this to make my budget a success.
The best part about the 90 Day Budget Bootcamp is that it’s completely free! You should grab it and start getting this stuff under control. This breaks it down for you step by step.
After breaking my mindset when it came to impulse spending and learning how to save, my life is full of contentment when it comes to money.
I still have debt and still make impulse purchases, but having an effective budget in place has changed my life!
I don't have guilt and feelings of failure anymore. This is financial freedom to me. I’m not perfect with money (who is?!) but I have come a long way!
Breaking impulsive spending habits is possible, and being able to save money while being an impulse spender can happen.
I am living proof that it is possible and if I can do it, anyone can.
I am not special and I do not possess any special skills that help me. It's really just that I just took the steps I knew were necessary to learn how to stop spending money and create the financial future I deserve.
If you have similar habits, the best thing you can do is stop ignoring your money issues and take charge.
Take control over what happens to your money. If you don’t, your habits take all of the power over how you think, feel, and act.
Like a lot of other personal finance bloggers, my problems with money and the progress I’ve made is what inspired me to start blogging and share my advice to help others who are in the same situation.
If you are interested in more helpful information on saving money and budgeting, you can find me over at www.house143finance.com where I blog about budgeting and saving money while still living a good life.
Join the 90 Day Budget Boot Camp for free here to get step by step instructions on how to create and stick to a budget even if it’s never worked before. (Specially created for tough cases).