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Breaking the Habit of Spending Money

Updated on October 28, 2008

Do you know how much money you spend each day, week or month? Many people don't. Do you feel like you are always shelling out money for something? Coffee, school items, clothing, food, a magazine, bills, etc. - it all adds up. The habit of spending money is a common one, even if people don't realize it. There are just always things that seem to come up. But the more a person is in the habit of spending money, the less impact it has on them when they do spend it. I think this leads to less savings.

Think about it - bills need paying, gas needs to be put in the car, there is a gift collection at the office. Your child needs new shoes, the dry cleaning needs picking up, etc. - the list goes on and on. How often to you put money into your savings account? I would venture to guess that it isn't every day like we spend money. At best I would imagine it is a few times a month, but many people don't save money at all.

If you can break the habit of spending money, then you will feel more in control of your money and be able to save more money. Of course this is easier said than done, so let's talk about ways you can break the habit of spending money. First of all, do you know how much money you spend each month? It is time to find out exactly how much you are spending and how often you are spending money. For most people this will be very eye opening.

Once you know what you are spending and how often, it is time to find ways to change that. Do you stop and get a paper each day on the way to the office? It would be cheaper to get a subscription delivered to your door and then you will only be paying a monthly or quarterly bill. If you stop for coffee, start making your own at home. These little things add up to big dollar amounts each week. If you want to stop spending money, it is essential that you start plugging leaks like this and stopping the daily spending on small items.

Do you find yourself paying bills all the time, or what seems like all the time? Try changing the due dates to coordinate with your paychecks. When we got paid monthly I had no trouble getting all the due dates on everything to be the same time of the month, so that I could only pay bills once a month. Now I pay bills twice a month. This has simplified my life so much and bills rarely get forgotten or misplaced, because everything gets put into one place and taken care of at the same time. And I am only paying out large amounts of money twice a month.

If you want to break the habit of spending money, then you have to force yourself to stop spending money, at least for a time. Have you ever gone more than a day or two without spending any money? Try it and see how it feels. If you normally go a day or two, then go a week now. If you really want to get serious about not spending, try going a month without spending any money except on bills and essentials.

I am doing this currently and for the whole month of October I gave myself $200 to cover anything that wasn't a regular bill or gasoline. It has been very eye opening to do this challenge. I have been able to really see all the times that during any other month I would have spent money. It has made me rethink many purchases and will hopefully carry over to other months as well. It has been the best thing to help me break the habit of spending money.

Because I have broken the habit of spending money I have been able to gain more control of my money and save more money. I can't do it every month as the $200 did have to include food, but I really feel that I am more in control of the money I spend and that my money doesn't have control over me. I will not spend just out of habit anymore. If I feel myself starting to fall back into the habit, then I can always go on a spending fast again at any time.

Do you plan things out in your life? Do you plan the way you will spend your money? Planning is essential to getting control over your finances. You need to plan out ahead of time what you need at the store, so that you aren't constantly running by the store on the way home from work to pick up something for dinner. You need to plan out your bills, clothing, and anything really. The better planning you do, the less often you will find yourself spending money.

If you really want to break the habit of spending money and gain more control over your finances, then keeping better track of what you spend, arranging things so you don't have to spend money each day and going on a spending fast for at least a few days at a time will help you get there. It is possible, you can do it. Good luck!


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Actually there is wise spending and foolish spending. As long as the money is well spent, it brings long-term benefits and happiness.

    • linda usher profile image

      linda usher 

      10 years ago

      Great tips! I see a lot of myself in what you wrote. I can't tell you how many times I have made a check bounce for a bill that was due because I emptied my account on frivolous spending. I'd go to the store on the way home and buy ingredients that I found in a recipe on-line or in a magazine. This added up. I like the idea of the "spending fast." It would help me if I could take one pay-period (2 weeks in my case) and not spend any frivolous money. I like that approach. And yes, I used to be in the habit of buying coffee near my work. We took care of that problem by buying a coffee pot for the office and we each either pay twenty-five cents per cup or buy a can of coffee or creamer or sugar for the coffee club at work. This has helped not only me, but my fellow co-workers.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      I am certainly not advocating anyone going hungry. We ate mostly from our pantry with much of the $200 I alloted myself on food items. We actually ate quite well. If a person doesn't have a well stocked pantry, then obviously they would need to allot money for groceries. But if they really want to do a spending fast, then they will be getting the essentials only, not junk food and extras. If someone were doing this, it would be up to them to set it up the way it would work best for them.

    • profile image


      10 years ago from Nigera

      Culd one be happy while he is hungry, no i do not see any fact to say about spending money. thanks

    • bethgould71 profile image


      10 years ago from Ohio

      My dad & stepmom have become successful in sticking with their monthly budget. Their miscellaneous spending is virtually nil, they are my heroes! It took them a long time to get that way. I remember years ago, my dad always with a small spiral note pad in his shirt pocket along with his usual mechanical pencil (yes, he's a science geek LOL). He would write every single thing down at the time he was paying for it. He told me he was surprised at just how much they spent on frivolous things like coffee at Starbucks and bottles of water bought at convenience stores here & there throughout the day.

      Reading your blog made me remember that, and I am now determined to do the same. I've got a note pad to put in my tote bag, and starting this Friday 10/31/08 (payday) I'm going to write every single thing down that I spend money on for the month of November. I agree with you that by doing this I'll be able to see where I can make changes. Thanks for posting this!


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