a tip for spending less money

June 9, 2015

how to save money

In our house we are getting serious about paying off our debt and saving money. Funny how as soon as you tell yourself that you can’t spend anything, all you want to do is buy stuff! For real, though.

I’ve long known that for us it’s the little stuff here and there that adds up, but it’s so easy to justify those small purchases. So when we cut out all extra spending recently, I had to find a way to deal with the urges to buy things. “Retail therapy” really does work in the short run, but since it’s not in line with my overall values I know I’ll regret it later. On the other hand, I know that if I just flat out deny myself, I’ll eventually feel oppressed or make excuses as to why a particular situation doesn’t count.

This is what I began doing instead: when the urge to spend money arrives, I think about what’s causing it. What is that craving really for? And how can I satisfy it in another way?

For example, the other night I had a strong craving for ice cream. (Let’s be honest, that happens every day.) But not only is that unhealthy, we didn’t have any ice cream in the house so I would have had to buy some. My first instinct was to suggest a frozen yogurt outing for the family. But I thought about it a bit more and realized what I really wanted was something cold and creamy. I had all the stuff at home to make a smoothie, so that’s what I did, and I was happy. Honestly, even just applesauce would have satisfied the craving at that point.

Another example: I recently began feeling dissatisfied with the state of our house. I got all these ideas on how to refresh it, but they involved buying things: a new couch, a rolling cart, a rug, etc. So after realizing that I couldn’t do that, I figured out that what I really wanted was a bit of a change. Decluttering and reorganizing/repurposing what I do have will give me that same sort of high. So I scheduled a decluttering day, and for the things that I do actually need to add to our house, I’m searching the free section of Craigslist and Freecycle.

So far this strategy is helping immensely. It’s also fun to keep track of the things that I didn’t buy, that I ordinarily would have, so I can see exactly how much we’ve saved. What are your best tips for saving money?

Posted in: personal, thoughts, tips

Comments on a tip for spending less money

  1. 1

    From Nora:

    What you said about spending money is often how I feel about not having sugar/sweets… as soon as I cutback, I want ALL the sweets :)

    Tips for saving money… our biggest thing is making use of what we have in the house whether that be coming up with a fun dinner from groceries we have vs. going out (even when I’m exhausted and don’t want to cook) to resurrecting our board games, to spending more time on our patio. It’s not always easy but I love it when we rediscover something that we haven’t done in awhile!

  2. 2

    From Kathleen:

    Yes! For me it works to make it into a sort of game. :)

  3. 3

    From Jenny:

    Your strategy sounds good and I wonder if it would work for me. When I do need to purchase something I often find it difficult to know when its better to buy cheap or when its worth it to buy the more expensive product.

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