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5 ways to stop spending money

17 August 2018
Author: John Cockburn
We are bombarded daily with advertisements to buy newer phones, faster computers, fancier cars, and trendier clothes. We're told that we have to have the newest of eveything in order to keep up with our peers or we risk not being accepted by them. It's not fair or smart, but it's the reality we live in.

1.  Don’t go “Window Shopping”
This may seem obvious, but I think eliminating window shopping should be number one on the list for good reason. While we may make the trip to Wal-Mart for the essentials, we always venture over to the electronics section or clothing department just to see what’s on sale. I’m not really a fan of shopping but I’m guilty of this time and time again. Just wandering over to see what they have on sale almost always leads to buying something I don’t need just to satisfy an urge.

If you’re trying not to spend money you don’t have or trying to fight the urge to buy things you don’t need, stop going to the places where all these things are happening all around you! Walking into a store just to “look around” will more often than not lead to buying something. Don’t tempt yourself, stay out of stores unless it’s for the essentials. 

2.  Leave your wallet at home
If you have to go to the store, especially if it’s just to window shop, leave your wallet at home. A big way to fight the urge to spend money is to not have any with you when you’re at the store. If you don’t have the means to spend, you won’t! This is the easiest trick in the book. It’s that simple.

3.  Use cash system
When you do have to spend money; groceries, toiletries, etc – use cash. Using cash helps your brain keep track of the money you are spending and you actually feel the loss of money as it leaves your fingers. Having $100 in your pocket and buying groceries is a big hit to the total cash you have left. You can actually feel the loss of money when you dish out the cash to make a purchase. Using debit or credit for purchases may not make you feel like anything is happening until the bill comes in a month later. At that point it’s too late to rein in the spending. If you can live on a cash system you are already way ahead of the game!

4.  Get help
Things are always better when you have someone helping you along the way. Find a friend, sibling, parent, significant other; anyone else who wants to change their spending habits the way you do and can hold you accountable. It’s a lot easier to resist an impulse purchase when you have a friend supporting you and helping you justify why the purchase isn’t needed. It’s also a lot more difficult to keep secret a purchase from someone that’s on the same journey as you are. Be accountable to your partner and make them accountable to you. Together you are stronger than individually. The best part of having a partner to keep you on the straight and narrow is having someone to celebrate your successes with you and make not succumbing to temptation an achievement.

You can also make an appointment with a Certified Credit Counsellor at a non-profit credit counseling organization to give you a running start with your budget and give you ideas on how to save. The help is out there and it’s free. Go out there and get it!!

5.  Create new habits
Everything mentioned above is only good if you stick to it. Eventually, over time, things will get easier and become second nature. Fighting the urge to spend money on things you don’t need is like exercising.  At first it’s a chore, it takes a ton of effort, and is not much fun at all, but as time goes on it becomes easier and the habit turns into a lifestyle. Once you make it part of your lifestyle it will be worthwhile and things will start to look up in the financial area of your life.

Start implementing these ideas today and things will change for the better. With a lot of work and effort you can make your money issues seem small in comparison to where they were in the past.


John is the Financial Empowerment Coordinator with the Sudbury Community Service Centre and Credit Counselling Sudbury. He has varied life experience, working in every field from 911 dispatch to credit counseling, which he feels helps him connect with the people he is helping on a personal level. Born and bred in the north (Chapleau, ON), he has a passion for helping people in the remote and isolated corners of the province.

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