Here’s the hard truth. If you don’t actually want to save money and be smart with money, you’ll never ever actually do it. Even if you “want to want” to save money, you won’t do it. While there are many ways to increase your financial situation, some of which are better than the ole’ “quit buying expensive coffee,” sometimes nothing beats simply not making purchases. The less cash flows out, the more cash stays in. Here are 4 ways to start spending a little less.
1. Be Okay With Saying “No”
We’ve all been there when a simple lunch with friends turns into a shopping trip, which turns into coffee, which turns into dinner, which turns into drinks at a bar, which turns into another bar, which turns into diner food at 2am. Nobody wants to be the buzz kill, and so we often just go along with the flow, purchasing whatever our friends purchase. If its a close friend, its okay to be honest, and say that you don’t want to spend any more money that day! You want to keep hanging out, but you’d prefer going back to your place and drinking cheaper wine with much more affordable tv streaming playing in the background. If they are friends you don’t know as well, be okay with saying “no” or being willing to go home to avoid the extra 20, 50, or 100 dollars.
2. Have a Free Day
As a sort of practice, you might consider picking one day a week as “free day.” On free day, you don’t spend any money. You eat the food in your house, make do with the coffee you have, don’t do any shopping, don’t fill up with gas. It’s your practice, so make your own rules and fine print, but even having one day a week where you intentionally don’t spend will help you think about money differently. At the least, it will show you that a day of saving is actually possible!
3. Give Things Up For a Week
Maybe you go out to lunch a lot, or maybe you’re buying fancy coffee a few times a week. Take a look at your most common spending practices and consider giving up one of them for a week’s time to see how it goes. You might learn that that thing is essential to your happiness, in which case you can feel better about continuing to purchase it after the week is up. More than likely, you’ll learn you didn’t really need those hot sandwiches after all! You’ll gain the freedom that comes from learning you don’t need to spend in certain areas.
4. Cancel Subscriptions for a Limited Time
I know, I know. You need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Spotify. But maybe you don’t! Try canceling certain entertainment subscriptions in your life for a limited time (like a month or even just a week) to see how it goes. You’ll find alternative modes of entertainment, maybe even entertainment that is better or forces you outside of your comfort zone! Maybe Spotify free won’t be so bad after all. Maybe the lack of 2-day shipping on Amazon helps you control impulse purchases! If it doesn’t go well, you can always subscribe again after leaving. Also, leaving a subscription and coming back might cause the service to offer you a deal to return, especially if you call them on the phone and say that you’re thinking about coming back!
You’ll notice that the practices here are “give it up for a short time and see how it goes.” Often times, we get ourselves into cycles of purchasing and don’t really take a minute to think about whether or not the cycle is important or essential to our happiness. We just continue to do it until we overcome the inertia required to attempt stopping it. Often, after stopping, we find that we feel better without the spending!