Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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10 Little Mind Tricks to Spend Less Money

10 Little Mind Tricks to Spend Less Money

To change your spending habits you have to change how you respond to the cues that typically tempt you to spend money. For example, you may typically see something in the store, want it, and then purchase it. But, there are some little mind tricks you can use to spend less money.

Know how long you have to work to afford it. Divide the cost of the item by your hourly wage to figure out how many hours you’d have to work to pay for that item. (Covert a monthly salary to an hourly wage by dividing by 80.)

Ask whether you can do it yourself for less money. Before you spend money getting a button resewn, having your lawn cut, or fixing a leaky faucet, make sure you can’t do it yourself for less money.

Pretend you didn’t just get a raise. Many people follow up a salary increase with a spending increase and never get to benefit from the extra income. Save or invest your salary increase and keep your same standard of living.

Don’t buy it on sale if you wouldn’t buy it full price. The low price tag of a sale item is tempting. Remember, if you wouldn’t buy the item anyway, you’re not really saving money.

Imagine your credit card purchases deducting directly from your checking account. Credit cards cause us to spend more because of the detachment from cash. If you treat your credit card like a debit card, you’re less likely to overspend.

Get in the habit of delaying gratification. The euphoria that comes with instant gratification causes us to spend more than we really should. Train yourself to “wait for it” and you’ll make better spending decisions.

Picture a life of never getting out of debt. Imagine yourself still burdened with debt in 10 or 20 years. It doesn’t sound like a life you want, does it? Cutting back on your spending is the best way to make sure that nightmare doesn't become a reality.

Put all your extra money in savings and withdraw it for your purchases. This helps because, for one, you can only make a certain number of penalty-free withdrawals from your savings. Second, the hassle of having to withdraw or transfer money for purchases will make you think twice about spending money.

Take just enough cash with you for what you need. You can’t spend more money than you have available. Curb your spending by carrying only the cash you need and leaving your plastic at home.

Reward yourself for good behavior. You may need to spend a little money every once in awhile to stay motivated. Just keep it at a moderate level and don’t do it too often.

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Comments 1

Frank on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 17:42

Great information here. I have a few of my own as well that I would like to add:
(1) Post reminders of your financial goals in strategic spots: I always like to see what my financial goals are atleast on a weekly basis. This reminds me I need to save.
(2) Always wait 24 hours to purchase any bigger ticket items: I like to wait and think it over to see if I really need to purchase this item (I usually do not).
(3) When eating or drinking out, use cash: This will set a limit of how much you can spend at a bar or restaurant. It works wonders for me.

Great information here. I have a few of my own as well that I would like to add: (1) Post reminders of your financial goals in strategic spots: I always like to see what my financial goals are atleast on a weekly basis. This reminds me I need to save. (2) Always wait 24 hours to purchase any bigger ticket items: I like to wait and think it over to see if I really need to purchase this item (I usually do not). (3) When eating or drinking out, use cash: This will set a limit of how much you can spend at a bar or restaurant. It works wonders for me.
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