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How To Stop Spending Money


’m not quite what anyone would call a tight arse but I’m definitely very frugal with my money. My credit card statement is nearly identical nearly every month. Groceries, groceries, rent, groceries, cheap takeaway Vietnamese dinner, groceries. There’s usually a budget airline plane flight in there somewhere and a few bottles of wine but that’s honestly it.

how to stop spending money

My partner and I both work for ourselves and our money situation is always a bit precarious, so we need to be very careful with our budgeting to stay on track. If you have a bit of a struggle with your every day financial situation, here’s how to stop spending money…

Pay only in cash

It’s very easy to get credit card happy these days particularly with paywave where you just have to tap your card and go but this is how you end up over spending, because money doesn’t really exist when it lives on a magical little card. If you’re really serious about sticking to a budget, withdraw your budget amount in cash for that week and once you’ve spent it, you’ve spent it. This will stop you from dropping $25 on a casual lunch when you couldn’t be bothered to make sandwich and it will also stop you impulsively spending $50 on a Thursday night at the pub.

Open a long term deposit savings account

If you really struggle with keeping your savings in tact, you need to open a long term savings account. Choose one with consequences if you really want to challenge yourself. I have a savings account with a a very high interest rate, and all I have to do is make a deposit of $100 every month and not withdraw any money from it at all. It’s not a huge amount of money to save each month but it makes such a difference. If I put aside $100 every month for 10 years, that’s $12,000. Whenever I get a big cash injection, like if I’ve finished a project, I always put the excess in the my high interest savings account too, to give it a bit of a boost.

Decide where you want to cut corners

If you’re trying to save money, you don’t have to cut corners everywhere. I tend to start waxing my own legs and doing at-home hair dye jobs when I’m a bit strapped for cash because I’d rather spend my money on nice wine and travel instead. Choose one or two things that are your ‘no scrimp’ items – that could be concert tickets, dinners out, fancy food, whatever – and then scrimp on everything else. If fancy wine isn’t important to you, buy cheaper stuff and use that money towards the things that matter to you like books or beautiful shoes.

Stop saying yes to everything

Entertainment, food and beverages are expensive and depending on where you live they can be very, very expensive. If you say yes every time some one asks you to go out for dinner, you’re never going to save money. Limit your entertainment spending to once a week. A glass of wine you drink in your own home is about a quarter of the price of a glass of wine in a fancy bar. If you look back through your eftpos card or credit card statements, you should be able to see where your trouble spots are. Give yourself an entertainment and stick to it.

Stop automating your payments

Instead of automating payments, set reminders to make payments manually. If you go into your bank account and manually transfer your gym membership fees, credit card payments or phone bill it will make you more aware of where you’re spending money and most importantly, where you’re wasting it.

What are you spending habits like? Are you pretty good at it? Or do you need a bit of advice?

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  1. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid 8 years ago

    When I was keeping to a budget, I used to pay my bills by direct debit but used to take out a set amount of “spending money” for food, going out etc and when it was gone, it was gone. You’re totes right, paying in cash is a great way to track your spending and sticking to a budget.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      It totally does! It’s so easy to see $50 quickly trickling away when you’re spending it in cash!

  2. SmittenKitten 8 years ago

    I would also add keep track of your expenses, we have a budget set up on a spreadsheet so we know exactly how much we need to put aside each pay, very easy to forget about things like car rego or council rates. By putting money away we always have it on hand when the bills come and as a bonus you get a bit of interest, especially on the longer term accounts like rego, this normally helps as the bills creep up!

    Doing this also allows you to understand your bills, 1 in 2 bills from our phone company are wrong with extra charges for things we didn’t use – normally data or a game neither of us downloaded. It also allows you to pick up on any price increases from power companies or insurances – often they will revert back to the previous rate if you call and threaten to walk.

    We don’t use cash as much as we can’t track it, we find it gets spent on wasteful items like lollies, coffee and chewing gum! By using a debit card we can review our statement at the end of the month and see where our money went, we also check receipts and generally live a frugal life. Always check your bank statements, we have previously been charged for things we didn’t buy ($50 at Sumo Salad 400km away??) and needed to request our money back through our bank.

    If you are moving away from using a credit card and have some debt move it onto a zero or low interest card, cancel & cut the old one up and then work out a payment plan to pay off whilst you have the interest free period, if you have a big debt you can often move it onto a zero or low interest credit card with a different company at the end of the original period. This means you can pay your debt off at your rate without adding to it!

    Lastly update your spreadsheet at the end of each month, this week our council issued their quarterly statement 6 weeks early so that everyone would pay in May instead of June, by amending our spreadsheet we will be better prepared next year. It also means if we want to make a big purchase we know quite quickly if we can actually afford it or if we should wait.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Yes! Rego is a killer! Nothing like a $900 bill that comes out of nowhere. That’s true about cash – I think people need to do what works for them. I hardly ever use cash myself but I’m pretty good at mentally tracking my purchases!

  3. Nadine 8 years ago

    When I’m going through a tight patch I delete unread all the marketing emails from my favourite online shops. I don’t even go into my favourite bricks&mortar shops. If I HAVE to go into a shop (eg pharmacy for prescriptions) I will literally stand in the middle of the floor with my arms folded. The thing for me is NO BROWSING.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I’m pretty lucky because I hate almost everything so I only find a pair of shoes or a dress I want to by like twice a year. Crochet is starting to kill me though! Yarn is expensive!

  4. I keep a budget (a simple running spreadsheet, but it works for me)… however, I’m a bit of a sucker for pay wave. I really like the idea of taking out your spending money for the week in cash. Such a great way for keeping an eye on your spending habits and to help you save. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I love paywave. I get a little bit paywave happy about stuff! I’m not too bad on my finances though. They’re pretty healthy considering I don’t have a regular income!

  5. Snappystreet 8 years ago

    Paywave is like free money! I say it to the people every time behind the register (I’m sure they all hate me for doing it, as I bet I’m not the first to say it to them that day) so I totally agree that taking the money out of the bank is a sure fire way to not over spend!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      It totally is. The good thing is that I’ve racked up so many extra points on my credit card I’ll be able to do a major shopping spree at the end of the year!

  6. Dr Na 8 years ago

    I think I need some kind of app that keeps me honest, or else a security guard over my bank accounts. I’m much better at budgeting than I used to be, but I still feel like my money disappears way too quickly. I’ve tried the cash thing before and it does work, so maybe that’s a message to me…

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Me too! I just allocated my finance this morning from my last pay and I’m already like ‘What???’.

  7. I have a money management blog post sitting in my drafts folder and there are some of the same things covered here! It’s more of a lessons learnt/still learning piece . . . I’m better than I used to be but still a bit “ooh I’m just going to nick into Priceline . . . “

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      OH! Priceline is the worst! Every time I’m in there I’m like… Hmmmm I think I need some more nail polish… Truth: I don’t ever need more nail polish.

  8. Erika 8 years ago

    I may be excessively geeky…pocketbook app is really useful. So does having a couple of different accounts for specific uses, knowing how much goes where (see Pocketbook) and then funnelling the money straight from the pay into the dedicated accounts.

    Regular bills get deducted over the year from a passbook account and that takes care of those suckers. If I need money out of this one, I have to go to the bank (which means it gradually builds up until I need to pay for car rego).

    Household money (ie FOOD) comes out of the mortgage account (money goes across in two budgeted amounts – one for the mortgage, one for household) and Pocketbook yells at me when I’m getting close to my preset allowance for the week. I generally manage to keep under the allowance.

    Anything left over is MINE. It’s mostly going on health costs and paying off the credit card. Plus the odd book (one must have books).

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I’ve tried so many different apps but I can’t really find one that suits my needs. It’s so frustrating! Although I’m a bit of a pain in the ass because I have so many different income streams and things that can be deducted I don’t think there will ever be a clean system I can use!

  9. merilyn 8 years ago

    good tips and advice here thanks smags!
    I’m pretty frugal because I hate waste, so I don’t buy redundant stuff at the supermarket!
    I like to not waste electricity and water for eco reasons!
    we are all responsible for this planet!
    my take on it! … love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Good call! There’s a bulk no packaging store that just opened up down the road from and I’m looking forward to buying lots of my staples there so I don’t have to buy wrapped stuff!

  10. Daryll 8 years ago

    I do my groceries online, i can plan my weekly meals based on whats on specials and because im not walking up and down aisles i only buy exactly whats on my list. My supermarket charges $5 to pick and pack and i just have to pick it up, which is much less than I’d spend on stuff i dont need…plus it means we are eating better and i can do my shopping on the couch in front of the fire in my pj’s!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I’d love to be able to do online groceries but my schedule is so out of whack I end up wasting a lot of food when I have to up a travel suddenly for work. When I’m a grown up do more of this!

  11. Sometimes I’m good. Sometimes I’m really baaaaad with money. Right now, I have none, so I just don’t spend any at all. Which is kinda depressing. 🙂 Great tips though Carly.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Oh I know what you mean! I’m pending money at the moment so I’m being weirdly frugal but it’s never really a bad place to be.

  12. denvergalea 8 years ago

    I was always raised to be good with money. Something my parents taught me was to always ‘pay yourself’ first, i.e. savings are just as important as paying bills – it should come first and expenses second.

    I also:
    – only break notes and empty my purse of coins at the end of the day into a jar – once it gets full I bank it
    – use a money management program and go through my accounts at least once a week to know where my money is tracking – it can give me reports to show me how much per month/year/to date I have spent on anything (food, clothing, car, dining out, takeaway)
    – as someone said above, if I’m in super saving mode I unsubscribe from all shopping related emails
    – pay off my credit card in full each month, there’s no way I’m paying 18% interest
    – each pay day transfer all the savings and expense transactions I need to make until next pay day and then ‘pay myself’ an allowance per week.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      Yes! My parents taught me that too. I’m a chronic credit card payer. I do it like once a week! I never let it get over.

  13. There’s always room for improvement so I’m loving all these tips. Years ago my Mum & Nanna made me cut up my credit cards in front of them. I’ve not had one for 10 years. It was a great lesson in picking up extra work if I needed more money, opting to stay home to save money and never spend beyond my means.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 8 years ago

      I only got my first credit card last year and only because I needed to get a credit rating. I pay it immediately though!


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