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Are you sick and tired of being broke?
If living paycheck to paycheck is a lifestyle that’s familiar to you, then it’s time for a change.
It doesn’t matter whether you make $20,000 or $200,000, if your spending habits are out of control, they could be costing you financial security and keeping your bank account perpetually in the red.
Fortunately, by making small adjustments and developing better money-management skills, it’s completely possible to start taking control of your finances today.
In this article we’ll show you 12 simple money hacks designed to help reduce spending and get back on track.
#1. Understand Your Values
When you know what you value, it is easier to stop spending on things you know won’t bring you happiness or help you reach your goals.
For example, if you love to travel, you know that every time you splurge on fast food, that is less money that can go towards your next trip.
#2. Only Carry Cash
There is a psychological response to seeing money leave our wallets.
But we don’t get this feeling when we swipe plastic.
Therefore, make it a point to only pay with cash, and see how much money you save.
#3. Treat Yourself To Free Things
Spending money is easy, regardless of whether we spend it on products or experiences. Often, we will justify this spending because it’s a form of self-care.
In some cases, this is true, and you may not even be spending that much.
However, others may spend and spend and spend to feel better. The reality? You don’t need to spend a ton of money to take a break and treat yourself.
You can take advantage of many free things around you when you need some self-care.
You may be able to find events at your local library or even free days at your museum. Some places, like your local coffee shop and other stores, may also give out free full-sized items or free samples.
Put simply, see what you can find that doesn’t cost money. Then, if you must, look for frugal items or experiences you can invest in. Coupons and sales are your second-best bet!
#4. Give Yourself More Time To Think About A Purchase
A lot of us benefit from instant gratification. We can get nearly anything we want at the click of a button.
This is why giving yourself space for things you want to buy can be helpful. Rather than just purchasing them when the mood strikes, write down the name of the product you wish to purchase and give yourself a few days, a week, or even a month to think about it.
If you completely forget about that thing by the time you reach that deadline, chances are it wasn’t so important that you needed it.
This can be an amazing strategy if you’re consistently buying things that go unused or something that you regret after immediately buying them.
#5. Delete Credit Card Information From Apps You Use Often
If there’s one thing that apps love to do, it’s hold onto your information. You may even have a few apps where your payment information is saved, so you don’t have to spend so much time entering your information at checkout.
The problem? This makes spending money easier than ever without putting in much effort or thinking about what you’re buying.
So, what do you do? Delete this information.
This could include cards on your phone, in-app payments, and other forms of payment that make it too easy to access your information.
The next time you want to buy something, you might think twice about doing it as you’ll have to enter all that information at checkout.
#6. Think About How Much Time It Takes To Purchase That Product
It’s important to remember that time is money. Money doesn’t just come from nowhere.
All the money you’re spending is a result of your hard work. It can be easy to think about spending in terms of just money.
But it’s far more effective to think about money in terms of time. Let’s imagine that you’re looking to buy an appliance for $200.
Don’t think about whether or not you have enough room in your budget, as you’ll likely seek to justify it and spend the money anyways. Instead, ask yourself, how much time did it take me to earn $200?
If you’re earning $20 an hour, that’s 10 hours that you have to trade for that one thing.
Was working 10 hours worth being able to buy that one thing? If not, save that money for something you genuinely want or need to make the time spent worthwhile.
#7. Set A “No Spending” Goal Each Morning
Every morning holds a ton of potential, especially when it comes to spending.
However, just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to buy something every day.
Ask yourself, “Is there anything I absolutely need to spend money on today?” If not, make it a goal to go without spending a cent that day. Then, do that same thing the next morning and the morning after.
When you honestly evaluate whether or not you need to spend money, it becomes easier to discern when you’re spending money for the sake of spending money and when you’re spending it intentionally.
#8. Make A Visual Resource To View Spending And Saving
Those who struggle to stop spending often experience a dopamine hit when they purchase something.
However, some believe you can also get that same dopamine hit when you focus on your savings journey. How?
People recommend a few visual strategies to help you get the most out of this tip.
The first method is a preventative method to keep you from spending. Some people will put all their receipts on a bulletin board to show them how much they spend.
Then, they’ll also create a way to view their savings so they can see how much they’re putting away. This may require a bit more work, but if you’re artsy, this might be something to pursue!
#9. Use A Budgeting App And Turn On Alerts
Budgeting apps can be life-saving if you’re not tracking how much you spend monthly. Why? They offer so much more than just budgeting.
Many apps help you access money-saving tools and deals. They allow you to keep track of your bills and other payments and even let you know when you go over your spending limit so that you can rein it in.
If you decide to use this type of app, you can keep an eye on your spending and set up alerts so that you’re never spending more than you want to.
With time, it will be easier to gauge how much you should be spending so that you’re not overextending yourself.
#10. Consider How Much You’re Spending On Something Over Time
Not everything we purchase for ourselves is going to be a one-off purchase.
Overall, one-off purchases may not make up the bulk of your unnecessary spending. What can sneak in there are those repeat purchases that look small but end up costing you more over time.
One obvious example is subscription services.
There are subscription services for everything, and these relatively minor purchases can add up.
Of course, this can happen with just regular purchases too. If you eat out often, you may be spending more than you could by eating in just a little more than you eat out.
Calculate how much you spend on various things over the year and see if you’re overspending on things you don’t need. The amount that you save might end up shocking you!
#11. Reduce The Amount Of Money In Your Checking Account
Your checking account is where you’re supposed to keep the funds you need to navigate each month.
But some people might keep even more in there than they need to access. One solution is to move more over to your savings account.
Doing this makes less money accessible and helps you keep track of how much money you have throughout the month.
You’ll also have to think twice before you move more money over to your checking account to spend on things you plan on buying. The less you have at your disposal, the less you’ll be tempted to spend.
#12. Never Carry More Cash With You Than You Need
When you have everything you need to spend at your disposal, it becomes much easier to spend money because you can.
This is why many recommend establishing a daily budget and only carrying cash when you go shopping.
This way, you have a set limit and can’t go over that limit even if you want to.
You may even want to go one step further and keep certain cards at home so the temptation is not there to use them when you run out of your cash limit.
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This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.