Reader Confessions: I don’t know how much money I spent

by Kristina on May 23, 2013 · 7 comments

Good morning Dinks. We all try to track our income and expenses, we try to live within a budget and we save for our future. But let me ask you a question – do you really know how much money you are spending and saving. If I asked you what percentage of your income you spend on food every month and you had to answer this question right now would you know?

LearnVest and Chase Blueprint recently published an article where 8 readers share their secrets to not spending.  I honestly believe that temptation is a big part of spending; it’s also a big reason why people get into debt. If we avoid temptation and don’t want things then we will be less likely to spend money unnecessarily.

What is the last unnecessary item that you purchased?

Use these tips to help you stop spending:

1. Leave your wallet at home.  This is the best savings tip that I have ever heard.  If our wallet holds our money and our credit cards and we leave our wallet at home then we can’t spend any money.  Next time you go for coffee with friends or go for a walk, put $5 in your pocket and leave your wallet with credit cards and cash at home.

2. Rename your accounts.  If you associate your accounts with specific goals such as vacation fund, housing costs and retirement savings you will be less likely to use that money for miscellaneous spending.  Rename your accounts for your personal and couples goals and you will avoid spending money carelessly.

3. Treat shopping as a scouting mission.  Always get at least three quotes.  Don’t shop just to buy something, shop to get the best deal on items that you need.  Shopping around, checking weekly flyers and searching online for the best price will help you save money while shopping and avoid impulse purchases. For some of us it’s not spending money that is the most important part of shopping, sometimes it’s just fun to spend the day out with friends…even if we don’t buy something.

4. Consider your cost per hour.  This helps determine if your purchase cost is really worth the price. I don’t mind spending a lot of money on a really warm winter jacket or a good pair of winter boots because I know that I will have them for many years. Over time the lump sum cost will average out to be worth it.

5. Adopt the one in one out rule.  If you buy something new you should get rid of the old item that it is replacing, otherwise you will just be a hoarder.  If you can’t part with your old items then you won’t buy new items.

6. Keep a running tally on your phone. Tracking your daily spending and monthly budget through your cell phone helps you keep a running tab on how much you spend.  Checking your bank accounts once a day from your home computer is good but checking your account balances several times throughout the day is a great idea.

7. Avoid buying on the spot.  I think we can all agree that impulse purchases are killer to our budgets. Avoid them at all costs. I like to use the three day rule, if you still want an item in three days then you can buy it. Waiting three days before buying your items also gives you time to shop around for the best deal.

8. Unsubscribe from retailers.  Temptation is brutal when it comes to spending.  I used to receive several emails per day telling me about discounts, free gift with purchases and store sales. I unsubscribed from all emails and now I avoid the shopping temptation by avoiding deal emails from stores.

What is your trick to cut spending?

 Photo by emdot

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DC @ Young Adult Money May 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

The best way to stop spending is to track your spending, at least that’s the approach I take.

2 Miss Amanda May 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

My sister taped a picture of a dog that she really wants around her credit card as a deterrent from spending. She has to actively take the picture of the dog off her credit card before using it which is often enough of a pause to really consider her purchase. To her, she can’t get a dog without getting a house, and she can’t get a house without getting her finances on track and a down-payment saved up. I think it’s brilliant!!!

3 James May 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I sometimes lose track of my spending also.

4 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen May 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Great tips! There are definitely some of those that I can work harder on…sometimes I go so long without any unnecessary spending that I slip up. Like today, I bought some lovely danish pastries I shouldn’t have…at least my tummy will thank me:P

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