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10 Ways to Keep from Spending Money

By on Sep 20, 2012 in Budget | 24 comments

Spending money

Do you spend too much money?

Are you looking for some ways to keep you from spending money? Well, you have come to the right place. It can be hard to resist the urge to go shopping or to buy items that you really want. Here are 10 tips to help you fight the urge and help you get your finances in order.

1. Put your credit cards in the freezer

If you have tend to carry a balance every month on your credit card because you don’t have the money to pay it off , then this can be a great solution. Put your credit cards in a container, fill it with water, and then put it in the freezer. Once it is frozen, it will be really hard to get to the cards without damaging them. You will be forced to wait for them to thaw in order to be able to use them. By the time the ice has melted, it is possible that you have lost the desire to buy that impulse item. Can’t live with out the rewards of a credit card? Consider signing up for a cash back debit card that pays up to 2%, you get the rewards without the debt.

2. Sleep on it

When you go to the store, is it hard for you to say ‘no’? If so, implement the 24 hour rule. Tell yourself that you will not buy anything without sleeping on it and giving it 24 hours before purchasing. This will let the emotions settle and let you evaluate your financial situation to determine whether you can afford it or not.

3. Get an accountability partner

Is self-control difficult for you? Consider getting an accountability partner. If you are married, this would be the first person I would look to.  I mean, who better to keep you in check than the person you have teamed up with for life. If you don’t have a spouse yet, that is OK, find a friend or someone who you trust and that can be objective. Don’t ask your close friend who is a shopaholic and has no self-control either. That would be like the blind leading the blind. Find someone who will be honest and that will be tough with you when necessary.

4. Stay out of the mall

If you go to the mall, do you find it hard to walk out empty-handed? If so, stay out of the mall for a period of time. The time that you decide should be tied to a goal that you have. For instance, if you are trying to save for a Starter Emergency Fund of $500, and you think that will take a month to save up, then tell yourself to stay out of the mall for 30 days. This way you have a good reason of why you can’t shop and you know that it is only for a season. You will be more motivated to stay away if you do this.

5. Limit your internet use

Perhaps your challenge is shopping on the internet. You should look at blocking certain sites from your computer. Once again, you can do this for a short period of time in order to achieve one of your financial goals.

6. Reflect on your goals

Do you have any goals when it comes to your finances? Having a goal can be powerful and can motivate you to change your behavior. Here is a list of goals that you could consider adopting:

Get out of debt
Spend less than you make
Establish an emergency fund
Pay for college without taking on debt
Save up money to go on vacation

7. Use the Cash Envelope System

If you froze your credit cards, than this is probably going to be your best option since your plastic is now unavailable. Look at your variable expenses, categories that vary each month, and make an envelope with that category written on it. Then determine an amount of cash to put in the envelope. For instance $250 for groceries. Then only buy groceries with cash out of that envelope. For more details on this, check out How to use the Cash Envelope System.

8. Hang out with frugal people

Generally speaking, you are who you hang around with. If you hang out with people who spend money like it is water than chances are that you do the same. One thing that is important to note is that there is a difference between being “frugal” and being “cheap”. Someone that is “frugal” is conscious that they only have a limited amount of money to spend so they must have a plan when it comes to spending money. Their priority is to be wise when spending money. A “cheap” person is more concerned with getting a good deal just for the sake of being able to say they got a good deal. Which you rather be, frugal or cheap?

9. Create a shopping list

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and spent more than you wanted to? You went in to get 3 items and came out with 10. Well, putting together a list of items that you need and not straying from it will help keep you from unnecessary spending. There are also some handy mobile apps out there that you can use to create a shopping list.  I use Out of Milk for Android and I have found it to be really helpful.

10. Know what you own

Are you notorious for having duplicates of almost everything? You have two copies of the same DVD. You have three hammers because you could find the first two, so you made a trip to Home Depot to get the third. Getting organized can help you avoid this from happening. If you want to know what DVDs you own, spend a Saturday morning arranging them in alphabetical order. If you want to know what tools you have, go through your tool box and organize it so that you can find everything easily.

Do you have any other ideas on how to keep from spending money?


  1. Another idea is that you should never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. This will almost always cause you to make impulse food buys that you will regret later.

    Sean @ One Smart Dollar

    September 20, 2012

    • Sean, that is a great point. I have gone to the grocery store hungry and it is funny how I end up buying items I don’t usually get. Most of the time they are foods that I should stay away from like Tostinos pizza rolls or strawberry ice cream.


      September 21, 2012

  2. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve learned to control our spending. If we buy something, 95% of the time it’s been budgeted for. The other 5% just makes us human…but even in those moments it’s never spending excessively or making a big purchase.

    This is a great list though. I’d say the grocery list, goals, cash envelope system, and an accountability partner are the keys to helping us with our finances and not spending more than we have.


    September 21, 2012

    • I appreciate your honesty about being human and making mistakes. I think that is so important for others to realize. That it is OK to make mistakes, but the idea is that we do our best to correct where necessary and move forward towards our goal.


      September 21, 2012

  3. Great list!

    I particularly like your credit card freeze tip. I have never heard of doing that before but I think its brilliant! I’ll be sure to use it in the future.


    September 24, 2012

  4. When we first started paying down debt, we put our credit cards deep in a peanut butter jar. You have to really, really want to buy something to dig through all of that peanut butter and wash the cards to use them.

    • Wow, that is awesome!


      October 21, 2012

    • That’s a pretty good one! The thing is I love peanut butter so much that I would probably reach the cards on accident.

      Kira @Planwise

      October 30, 2012

      • Kira,

        Google what’s allowed in peanut butter and you want have to worry about that anymore.


        February 13, 2013

  5. Great list. I particularly like – Hang out with frugal people. It’s so helpful because they make you feel so guilty for spending money unnecessarily! (And they always have good money saving tips).

    Kaylene @iScrimp

    October 9, 2012

    • Thanks Kaylene! It is always good to surround yourself with people that will have a good influence on you :)


      October 11, 2012

  6. Stay at home and stay off Amazon — words to live (and build wealth) by.


    October 17, 2012

    • Classic! It is SO easy to spend money on Amazon, especially if you have a prime account and get free 2 day shipping. I know people that have done a 30 day challenge where they stay off a particular site for 30 days in order to over spend. It is amazing how easy it is to spend money these days with purchasing just being a click away.


      October 21, 2012

  7. I like number 2 and number 8 the most. I wasn’t aware about the difference between being frugal and cheap until I read this. In that case, I’d rather be frugal. Another tip that I want to add is to collect new bills. In my experience, when I have new bills (usually from the bank), I have this urge to just keep it in my wallet and not spend it no matter what happens.

    Dylann Andre

    October 18, 2012

    • That is an interesting idea. I know that I feel similar when I have a $100 bill instead of 20’s. It seems like it takes a while for me to want to break the $100 and therefore it takes longer to spend it.


      October 21, 2012

  8. I like the waiting until a financial goal is met until shopping again. That is more realistic that not shopping at all. For a shopaholic, that would not work.


    October 30, 2012

    • Yeah, not shopping at all would be unrealistic. I think you have a good strategy: set a goal and once it is achieved then go shopping. It is amazing how effective incentives are at motivating us.


      October 31, 2012

      • I heard Suze Orman once say that when unexpected money arrives, 75% should be saved and 25% should be spent. I did cartwheels when I heard that advice. It takes the pressure off when you know you should save, but you also have things you have been needing to buy for but didn’t have the money until now. Permission to spend a little and save a lot. I was so jealous I didn’t think of that first. :)


        October 31, 2012

        • Saving money that comes in unexpectedly can be a great habit, for sure. I would also recommend paying down debt, if you have any. It just depends on where your at with your Financial Gameplan. Thanks for sharing!


          November 3, 2012

  9. #6 Reflect on your goals is really the big one for me. My travel goals are my motivator to keep from spending money. Thanks for the list, I do often forget about my financial goals and go out and spend money, and then find a travel blog and jump back into a saving streak!

    Kira @Planwise

    October 30, 2012

    • Travel is one of our goals as well. It is a great motivator, for sure!


      October 31, 2012

  10. Glade to have found this blog. Can I share a link to my fb WKW ?

    Bob Lew

    February 13, 2013

  11. Could use some good advice n help!

    Alan Carter

    February 18, 2013

    • Just sent you an email :)


      February 18, 2013


  1. How One Woman Paid off $35,000 During a Job Layoff - […] an accountability partner, someone who will hold you accountable to your goals. Third, along with cutting expenses and practicing …

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