Stop Spending Money! Breaking Bad Spending Habits
March 19, 2015 / Sara Davis / Personal Finance Mistakes and Bad Habits to Avoid
As a human being, you have naturally developed habits. While some of these habits are good for you, other habits can get you into trouble, like spending money too often when you should be saving it for your or your family's future.
But these bad spending habits don't always have to come in an extreme form (like gambling or going out to eat every night for dinner) In fact, sometimes the worst spending habits are the little ones that you do so often you don't even consider them a habit any longer, just a way of life. You tell yourself, "But, that's what I do," and that redundancy can be your biggest enemy.
Whether this means you are buying a cup of coffee every morning or hitting up the office vending machine every day after lunch, these are the habits that not only constantly work against you, but are also the hardest to break.
"Your worst spending habits are the little ones you don't even think about."
Rather than letting that single habit control you, take charge and wipe it out. You'll end up saving a lot of money in the long term and be more in control of your actions and cravings overall. While eliminating something you do every day is easier said than done, there are tips you can use to guide yourself through the process. But at the end of the day, it's on you to incorporate these tips into your life.
Know your triggers
When it comes to your worst spending habit, you have triggers that set off the craving. You don't do the same thing over and over again for no reason at all. You certainly have a reason to do the things you do, and you can call it a craving, an addiction, a longing or any other number of words to help yourself identify what it is, but it's there. The trick is to find it, according to Womanitely.
If you purchase a coffee every morning then it's probably because you need the jolt of caffeine. You are not alone in that regard, but try making your own instead. This might mean getting out of bed a little bit earlier, but that couple bucks you could save a day is certainly worth the 10 extra minutes it takes to make a pot of coffee. And if your habit is not coffee, there are certainly alternatives. But you have to identify the habit and the triggers first.
Triggers can also be reasons such as being tired or bored. Maybe the caffeine jolt is because you didn't get enough sleep, not because you like caffeine? Addressing the trigger will help you address the habit.
When you only use a credit or debit card, it can sometimes feel as if there is no limit to what you can spend. However, you can put restrictions on yourself, such as only carrying around a limited amount of cash, or making it so you can only spend so much a day on your debit card. If you really cannot get this spending habit under control, then maybe putting limits on yourself is what you need to do.
According to financial coach Adam Hagerman, you should only carry around the amount of money you intend to spend. While you might feel naked without carrying all of your plastic around with you, taking a small bit of cash wherever you are going could be the solution. If you know you only have a limited amount of money for the day, you will be more inclined to spend it sparingly. On the other hand, if your wallet contains a debit card, a couple credit cards and a Starbucks gift card as well as cash, then you might be slightly more lax in the responsible spending department.
Approach it like a strategy
Eliminating a part of your life in cold turkey fashion is difficult and often causes unexpected mood swings, as you are not getting something you normally would be. If your spending habit is an everyday thing, this can be an extremely difficult approach. Developinggoodhabits.com recommended establishing a strategy to not only eliminate the habit, but do so in a way that you don't need it anymore.
For example, if that vending machine is part of your afternoon ritual, and one day you simply decide never again, your cravings are going to skyrocket. It can then be more difficult to control yourself with increased cravings. Make the effort, yes, but do so in a gradual fashion. You are trying to knock out this spending habit for the long haul, not only for 30 days. If you go cold turkey, you might have a few good weeks, but it will be harder to keep away than if you slowly eliminate it from your day-to-day life. You will be teaching yourself that you don't need the candy bar, not just that you can't have it.
Be in control in your battle to eliminate your worst spending habit. Be aware and listen to your cravings. Your worst habit might not even be one you realize, and that is why it is so dangerous to your finances. Don't let the habit get the best of you, remove it like you would any problem or addiction. While others can help guide you and give you tips, only you can make the choice to stop.
Good luck, but you don't need it, because you can do it.