Becoming a saver when you like to spend
Photo by: peterme
The following is a guest post by Lynnae of Being Frugal.net, a blog about frugal living and getting out of debt. If you like this post, consider subscribing to her feed via RSS or email. Make sure you pay her a visit as she was kind enough to give you guys a great article to read while I’m taking care of my kiddos!
You know the advice. Don’t spend money unnecessarily. You want to save money. You know you need to save money. But you’re a spender by nature, and you feel like it’s impossible to stop spending. How do you do it?
While some people (like my daughter) seem to be born savers, I am not. I’ll admit. I like to spend money. It makes me feel good to buy something new. But that feeling is short lived and bad for my overall financial health. Over time I’ve had to develop strategies to help me avoid unnecessary spending.
Don’t shop for fun. If you don’t need anything, don’t go into the store. Period. This is the best overall way to avoid spending money. When my daughter was born, and I was a new stay at home mom, I would get bored during the day, so I’d take my new baby to Walmart. Don’ laugh….we lived in a small town, and I didn’t have many shopping options. Inevitably I’d end up spending $20 here and $20 there on things I didn’t need. When I stopped going to Walmart so often, I stopped spending so much money.
Shop with a list. Whether you’re grocery shopping or going to Target to buy cleaning supplies, always take a list. And stick to it. Don’t browse while you’re in the store. Think of shopping as a mission to buy what you need. Get in. Get out. Stick to the list.
Keep a running list of household items that you need. I keep a running list of things we need around the house, such as clothing, furniture, and anything around the house that is in need of replacement. By keeping a list, when I see a great deal on something, I can check my list to see if it’s something we really need. If it is, I know that it’s time to buy it. If it’s not on the list, it’s not a good deal for me, even if it’s 75% off.
Wait at least 48 hours before buying something you want. If you’re in the store and you get the urge to spend money on something that’s not on your list, wait. Write it down, and wait a couple of days before deciding to buy. You’d be amazed at how many times the urge to spend money passes, and you decide you don’t really need the item after all. Take the money you would have spent, and put it in savings.
Find someone to hold you accountable for your spending decisions. Make sure your accountability partner is a financially responsible person. It could be your spouse, a friend from church….anyone who wants to see you succeed. I started a blog to hold myself accountable, and it’s really changed the way I think about spending money. Plus, it’s really hard to spend money when I know I’ll have to confess to my readers what I’ve done.
When you’re trying to change a habit, you need to have a plan. Without a plan, you will fail nearly every time. By setting up some conditions on when and where you can spend money, you can slowly begin to develop the habit of saving money, rather than spending it all.