Halting Impulsive Spending: Steps to Regain Control of Your Finances

How can I stop spending?

You may have already asked yourself this question or you may still be asking it as you read the article.

Overspending can be a habit that many struggle with, and it puts them in a tough financial situation. Yikes!

It can be difficult to control your spending when everything is so easily accessible. With the help of technology, buying anything is as easy as clicking a button. Amazon, you are in our sights!

While I enjoy the convenience, it is easy to overdo it without realizing. What is one to make of this?

Here, I will discuss how to stop wasting money and give you some tips on getting back on track financially.

Table of Contents
What causes overspending?
How to stop spending money
How to stop spending money on food
How to stop spending money on clothes
How to stop spending money on credit cards
Final Thoughts
What causes overspending?
No one factor is responsible for the trend of our society to overspend. It can sometimes be just one single reason, and at other times, it could be a combination of factors that create the perfect storm.

But I do think that there are some reasons why we tend to spend too much as a culture.

Emotional Spending
You can feel a rush of adrenaline or happiness when you shop and buy things.

Retail therapy is a term you’ve likely heard before. But it’s not a good session of therapy if your wallet suffers.

We like something and must get it right away. Add to that the fact it takes your mind off of any stress you may be experiencing in your daily life, and you have a deadly combination.

Social Media Feeds
I am a full-time employee in the social media sector, and I can see what it can accomplish. There are also issues that it creates, whether they were created intentionally or not.

Social media gives us immediate access to the products and services that brands are selling, as well as what our friends do.

We are afraid of missing out on something, we wish to be able to keep up to date with our friends and family, and we desire to look like we have it all.

Use Credit Cards
Since I was 18, I have had a credit cards and it was very easy to use it. Hey, my $500 credit limit was at the time. That means I can now spend more.

It’s easy to get blinded when you’re not using cash and use plastic because you know you can spend more.

It is painful to see that your credit card balance has been maxed out, and you are paying interest rates of 20-30%.

This doesn’t stop people from repeating the same behavior. Credit cards are convenient and easy to use.

Shopping Addiction
Some people may be addicted to shopping. It is harder to overcome but can lead to massive debt.

Please consult someone if you think you may have it. I am not a licensed psychotherapist. You might find that the tips below are helpful, but you need to address more.

You are not alone. The compulsive shopping disorder affects millions of Americans (Source).

This article on healthline will provide you with more information and resources for getting help.

How to stop spending money
You can stop spending money by using the tips below.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever spend any money again, or that you cannot treat yourself occasionally.

These can be used as a way to improve your finances, to stop you from living paycheck-to-paycheck, or to simply help you reduce any debt.

  1. Sleep on it!
    You’ll have to learn self-control. This is about delaying your gratification in order to improve your finances.

Wait before you buy something. Wait 24 to 48 hours before making a purchase or sleeping on it.

The desire to purchase something usually subsides or you come to realize that it is not important.

  1. Find out why you overspend so much
    You may need to take a moment and analyze your life and spending.

Why do you want to spend all your money? Why do you have to keep buying?

Spending money can help you to relax. You may not realize that you spend money a lot.

To stop spending money you need to find the cause.

  1. Track all your expenditures with Legit Tracker
    Often, the problem is simply that you don’t know all of your expenses. You can easily overspend if you don’t know what your monthly income is and where it goes.

It is not a good idea to guess or think you know.

When I ran the numbers, I was surprised at how much I missed.

Was I wrong? I thought I would have more money if I spent less.

Make a list of all your expenses and income, then do a little basic math. To keep track of my finances, I use Personal Capital and spreadsheets.

There are many free financial software programs that you can use if spreadsheets don’t suit your style.

  1. Credit cards are not needed at home
    Leave your credit cards at home. If you carry a credit card, it is easy to overspend when you are out.

You can’t see the real value of money, so you don’t feel anything when you swipe. You won’t know the real cost until you get the bill and see the interest.

You can also treat your credit card as if it were a debit card, which is linked directly to your money.

You may be able to keep your credit cards in your wallet if you think of them as something other than money. It depends on how you feel about credit cards. If it doesn’t work for you, leave them at home.

  1. Avoid online or offline stores that trigger impulse purchases
    All of us probably have our favorite store or online shop. They are the same stores that put us in debt and cause us to be impulsive buyers.

Many people shop at Target, Costco or Kohls.

While these stores may offer great deals, you should avoid them as much as possible if you are unable to stop spending.

Online shopping can be challenging because it is so convenient. If this is the case then you can delete your login information or remove your credit cards to stop any quick purchases.

It will be difficult to train your willpower.

  1. Create an savings challenge for yourself
    It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated. This keeps you focused on the goal you set for yourself and your finances.

It’s a great way to get started. After running my own numbers in 2014, i set up a few goals that i wanted to achieve.

It helped me to stop spending too much money. Even today, I continue to do this to stay financially focused.

Want to reduce your spending and get rid of old subscriptions that you no longer need? Trim is a free app that you can download. Trim helps you negotiate cable, Internet, phone and medical bills as well as cancelling old subscriptions. Trim can help you save money.

How to stop spending money on food
Food and groceries are essentials, but they can also cause you to spend too much. I am a foodie and enjoy eating out and discovering new restaurants.

This also led me to financial trouble a few years ago.

Since then, I’ve found a good balance and have stopped spending so much on food.

Here are a few helpful tips:

It’s cheaper to cook your own food.
To avoid temptation, pack your lunch for the office.
You can stick to your grocery list by shopping online instead of visiting the store.
Remove apps that allow you to order food easily. If you are having a problem with food expenditure, remove these apps now, even though I love tech innovation.
Budgeting your food is important. You can also monitor the amount you spend each month.
You can save money by using coupons and signing up for grocery store bonus cards.
Buy in bulk and meal plan. Invest in Tupperware to store leftovers.
Invest in an electric crockpot. You will be amazed at how it can change your life. Seriously.
How to stop spending money on clothes
Spending money on clothing can be just as common as overspending on food. Fashion is a huge industry and we all wear clothes (unless you’re a nudist).

It is easy to spend too much on clothes, particularly if you are afraid of not looking trendy or hip amongst others.

It’s that same old thing, trying to keep up with the others. This always causes financial problems.

Here are some tips on how to stop buying clothes.

Unsubscribe to retail emails, so that you’re not tempted by the clever marketing.
Remove all retail apps on your phone
Unfollow clothing brands from social media.
You may be surprised at what you have in your closet.
Wash your clothes according to the instructions on the tag. This will keep them in good condition.
If you need clothing, check out thrift shops to get great deals on popular brands.
How to stop spending money on credit cards
This article has mentioned credit cards a few time, but they can really cause financial chaos.

Plastic cards are useful in establishing credit. They can also help your credit score, if you use them wisely. They will save you money and reward you with cash or points if you need it.

It can also damage your credit rating and make you pay high interest rates on debts that you keep accumulating.

You can stop using credit cards by following these tips:

Use credit cards only if you can pay immediately.
If you are unable to resist the temptation of spending, leave your credit cards at home.
Knowing the numbers will help you stay focused.
Although credit card rewards can be cool, you shouldn’t spend just to get them.
Avoid signing up for store credit cards. They can have high interest rates and will tempt you into spending more in order to receive any discounts.
Final Thoughts
You will find that you have a much healthier financial situation when you stop spending. You can now afford to save more money or invest more in your 401k, alternative investments or savings account.

When you see your finances flourish, it makes you feel great. It was motivating to see these changes in myself.

Yes, I spend money on myself occasionally.

Once you learn to control your spending, you will never ask yourself “How do I stop?”