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Here's How to Easily Break Your Habit of Spending Unnecessarily

Rahul Pandita Apr 19, 2019
Many of us make purchases we can do without. When we spend money unnecessarily, our financial planning suffers. Over time, it can become a habit, hard to get rid of. Thankfully, it is never too late to cut down on unnecessary spending habits.
Most of us want to have adequate savings for our rainy day fund. To achieve this goal, certain things need to be ensured. First and foremost, we need to earn well, so that even after paying the bills, we are left with a substantial amount, which can be diverted to the savings fund.
Secondly, we need to ensure that we are spending to take care of our needs, and resisting the temptation of our 'wants'. If we do a bit of retrospection, we will find out that we make a lot of impulsive purchases. When we go shopping, armed with a credit card, there is an increased likelihood that we end up buying things on a whim.
Eventually, our whims and impulses become a habit, which like other bad habits, take a toll on our financial health. Thus, it becomes very important that we get ourselves out of the mire of unnecessary spending.
Also, it is important to note that unnecessary spending comes in many forms, only one of which is shopping. Services - like a gym membership that goes unused, or an extra DirecTV connection, are also forms of unnecessary spending. Here are a few options and suggestions which can help you to save, and fatten up that rainy day fund.

Plan a Budget and Stick to It

If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, plan your money allocation systematically. Before you receive your salary, make a detailed entry of the due expenses, such as monthly EMIs, electricity and phone bills, groceries - basically everything that you cannot do without.
Once you have an idea of how much you will be left with, you can plan how much money to save or invest in a month. Allocate enough money for recreational activities, but once you have fixed a figure, do everything in your capacity to ensure that you stick to the plan. You will have idea of your finances and it will dissuade you from spending unnecessarily.

Prepare a List Before You Shop

Making a list before going to mall or grocery store is a good way of ensuring that you don't spend on unnecessary items. Carry a pen along with you, check the items you have put into the cart, and move on to get the next thing on the list.
There are numerous distractions at the mall, thanks to the careful structuring and placement of commodities, but if you act like a blinkered horse, and head only to those sections which house items on your list, your job is half done.
Another tip that can be helpful while shopping for groceries is to avoid using carts when you are in to get a just few things. Store owners think that people will shop more if they see that their cart can still hold more items, which is the prime reason for shopping carts getting bigger.

Take the Help of a Frugal Friend While You Shop

If you have a friend who knows your poor spending habits, it will be good to get him to accompany you when you are out shopping. He can assume the role of a critic by restricting you when your impulses start to get the better of you.

Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards

Everyone has experienced, or knows, how quickly debt accumulates on a credit card. When we buy on credit, we are essentially spending beyond our means.
As we are not dealing in hard currency, the realization that we might have indulged in unnecessary spending only hits us when we receive those huge monthly statements. If you find it extremely difficult to rein yourself when you have a credit card in your wallet, try 'forgetting' it at home and step out with cash to buy the required things.

Never Shop to Keep Up With Someone

Many times, we shop just to 'Keep up with the Joneses'. Peer pressure, or a desire to fit into a group, can blind us into spending unnecessarily. Letting our emotions take control of our spending habits is the first step on the way to financial doom.
Friends engage in one-upmanship, and at the end of it, both were in serious debt. We should try to understand that our friends and competitors may have a passive source of income, or they might be free of financial liabilities, and hence they have all those extra dollars to splurge.
Spending to prove a point to them may provide a brief moment of satisfaction, but in the long term, it definitely bogs us down with debts and no savings. To get off this habit, we should do a bit of introspection and engage ourselves in other constructive pursuits. Resisting temptation is very important in controlling frivolous and wild spending habits.

Get Rid of Bad Habits

Unnecessary spending habits has also got a lot to do with bad habits. Yes, smoking and alcoholism are bad enough for our health, and spending our hard-earned dollars on them only compounds the problem.
If we really keep a record of the money splurged on cigarettes and alcohol, we will realize that it could have been used for something more worthy. If we really want to get rid of our habit of spending unnecessarily, it is extremely important that we quit, or limit, smoking and drinking.
Going cold turkey can have issues of its own, so it is advised that you gradually reduce your dependence on intoxicants. This will not only help in saving you some money, but also diminish the risk of running huge bills at the hospital in the later stages of our life.

Small Things That Can Make a Difference

✦ Brown bag your lunches and cook dinner at home. You will save a good amount, and it will reduce instances of eating junk food.

✦ Check what you are paying for your phone contract, data plan, and cable. Analyze whether you really need all the services that you are paying for. By expending a few extra, unused services, you will be able to save some money.
✦ Given the ever-increasing costs of gasoline, a big part of our expense is spent on transportation. Reduce using personal vehicle and try public transport. If you have colleagues in your locality, see if carpooling is an option.

✦ Many people like to pick up a cup from the drive-through at Starbucks, but you can save money if you brew your coffee at home.
Many people may argue that people who spend frugally never know what it is to live life to the fullest, but there is a lot of difference between spending wisely and being a miser. The important thing to remember is that some people spend for just the heck of it, and spending money on unnecessary things becomes a way of life for them.
This is where it becomes a bad habit, which can have serious repercussions in the future. Everybody loves to indulge in shopping, or going on a spending spree once in a while, and it is absolutely fine to do so, but overdoing it creates financial issues and bad debts, which nobody wants in life.