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10 Easy Ways to Curb Bad Spending Habits

curb bad spending habitsSo you overspent last month…again. And now you’re trying to figure out where you went wrong and how to avoid it in the future. Does that sound like you? If you find yourself constantly thinking about your bad spending habits, and you’re ready to make a change in your finances, keep reading. Here are 10 easy ways to curb bad spending habits, and have more money in your pocket.

10 Easy Ways to Curb Bad Spending Habits

This post has been written by our staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.

It IS possible. You CAN have control over your spending and actually have money left at the end of each month. Just read below and take one small step at a time. Over time, you WILL gain control of your money, and it’s the absolute best feeling in the world – to control your money instead of having it control you.

1) Know Your Triggers

If you know that you can’t walk into Target without buying a cart filled with random items, that’s a trigger. If you only overspend on going out to eat when you’re stressed out, that’s a trigger. By identifying your triggers, you can take the first step to help you curb bad spending habits. You’re less likely to overspend if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to.

Related: 9 Spending Triggers That Can Leave You Poor

2) Use Cash

Even after knowing your triggers, you will be tempted from time to time. So what’s the best way to deal with that?

Don’t keep your debit or credit cards on you.

Only carry cash for specific purchases. It’s hard to spend $200 on that item you want when you only have $50 in your wallet for groceries. And don’t cheat! Don’t say “Oh, I’ll just take out cash for groceries another day.” Only take out the cash you need and use it for its intended purpose.

Related: Unexpected Benefits of Using Cash

3) Set Goals

You most likely won’t be able to curb bad spending habits overnight, especially if you’ve had these bad habits for a long time.

So start small.

Tell yourself you’re going to say no to at least one party this month. Set a goal to not buy anymore t-shirts until you’ve worn your other ones at least once. By setting these goals, you’re motivating yourself to achieve them. And if you want to take it a step further, give yourself an incentive to achieving these goals. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but something simple (like a manicure or purchasing a ticket to a good movie) can be a great motivator.

Related: 5 Reasons Goal Setting Will Improve Your Focus

4) Think About It

If you haven’t heard of the 24-hour rule, it basically just means that before you buy something you want but don’t need (an impulse buy), you have to think about it for at least 24-hours. This means you have to look at the item, go home, think about it, sleep on it, and decide if you’re going to go back to the store to pick the item up. You’ll realize that most items aren’t worth the time and effort that you have to put in when it comes to the 24-hour rule, thus keeping that money in your pocket.

Related: A Man Who Paid Off $116,000 by 30, Shares His #1 Savings Tip

5) Use A List

Another way to stop impulse purchasing and curb bad spending habits is to have a list when you do go shopping. If you don’t write that you need pizza on the list, don’t buy it. Forget that you needed coffee creamer? I guess you’ll have to push it out to next week. Having a list will keep you disciplined and help you avoid throwing everything in the store in your cart because you didn’t properly plan.

Related: How to Feed a Family of 4 For Just $400 a Month

curb bad spending habits

6) Unsubscribe

This goes back to knowing your triggers, but deserves a point on its own.

Marketing, especially online, has gotten a bit out of hand in the past few years. You sign up for an email list for one simple coupon, and the next thing you know, you’re getting daily (sometimes multiple times a day) emails about sales, coupons, and new items. This can tempt you to spend money on items you don’t even need, simply because the business made them look good. Sure, it seems like you’re saving a bunch of money on those deals, but in reality you’re just spending money that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

To avoid the temptation, just unsubscribe. It’s so simple and usually requires a simple click.

Related: How to Unsubscribe From Email Newsletters the Correct Way

7) Have Accountability

It can be hard to curb bad spending habits by yourself sometimes. So if you feel that you may slip back into bad habits, get an accountability partner! This could be your significant other or a frugal friend.

Whoever it is, make sure that they:

  • will touch base with you,
  • keep you in check, and
  • talk you off the ledge of over purchasing if needed.

This accountability can really help break bad spending habits, because you realize you don’t have to do it alone. Plus, you’ll have someone to vent to if you do slip up, or if you’re feeling a little stuck.

Related: 5 Ways an Accountability Partner Helps You Pay Off Debts Faster

8) Know What You Have

How many times have you bought something, only to realize you already had it? This could be anything from a utensil to copy paper. By knowing what you have and keeping an inventory, you can curb your spending and avoid buying multiples of an item that you really didn’t need in the first place.

Related: The Best Home Inventory Apps

9) Budget For Fun

Do you want to know a common reason that people overspend while trying to budget and manage their money?

They feel deprived.

Deprivation can cause guilt, resentment, and shame, and you don’t want to feel that way when you’re trying to curb bad spending habits. Instead, budget for a little fun! It doesn’t have to be much, but giving yourself money just to enjoy yourself and to have fun can help you stay within budget and keep you from feeling negativity towards your money and finances.

Related: Why You Need Some Fun Money in Your Budget

10) Have Other Options

Along with budgeting for fun, find some ways to have fun without spending money!

If you love going to the movies, you don’t have to give that up completely to curb bad spending habits. Instead, find when your local theater has cheap movie days, or visit your local city’s website to see if the community has movie days. This way you can still enjoy doing what you love without spending a bunch of money that you’d rather not spend.

Related: 30 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money 

Are You Finally Ready to Curb Bad Spending Habits?

So what about you? What about now? Are you ready to get rid of those teenage spending habits once and for all? As you can tell, it doesn’t have to be a drag and you don’t have to stop spending completely (that would really suck!), but you DO have to start being intentional with your money. After all, it’s what adults do (you know…think about the future…more than just 1 minute from now).


Because adults want to have money left over at the end of each month for inevitable emergencies, for giving gifts, and for just plain having fun later in life (can anyone say family vacation??!)!

Trying to curb bad spending habits is a process, and you can’t expect to have it all right on the first try. But these 10 simples tips can help you start cutting back and becoming a little more financially savvy with your money.

Are you ready to curb your spending habits? Which of the methods above do you like the best??

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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