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How to Stop the Spending

by Tara Kuczykowski on July 24, 2009 · 8 comments

The following is a guest post from Frances at Frugal Fairhope.

credit-cardsPhoto by Andres Rueda

We all know that we should cut up those credit cards and close the accounts. Who needs credit anyway when you pay as you go, right? Well, this doesn't work for everyone. Besides, maybe the credit cards are not the issue, but you are using your debit card for stuff that you really shouldn't be buying. You can cut those credit cards all day long but until you stop the spending, you are not going to reach your financial goals.

How do you stop the spending?

Some of us have self-control, while others not so much. You know who you are and you know what you are capable of spending on Saturday. You know those Saturdays when the weather is beautiful outside and you are "window shopping" with your girlfriends. Between lunch and the "great deals" at the stores, you can go through a couple hundred bucks.

Here are a few fun ideas to stop yourself from spending. No, we are not going to tell you to put your cards in the freezer; you need the room in your freezer for stockpiling.

1. Write down your financial goals and place them on the fridge or your bathroom mirror. This will be a constant reminder. Get creative, do a scrapbook page and place it in a magnet frame. You will be looking at this every day.

2. Attach your goals to your cards. Tape photos of your kids or your house with paid for written on the front of your card as a friendly reminder to put that card back into the wallet.

3. Piggy banks worked when we were kids, but not now. Are you saving up for a big purchase like a new computer or a piece of furniture? Each pay day buy gift cards from that store. You can buy the gift cards online and have them mailed to you. This keeps the money out of your account so you can save for that purchase.

4. Create a house rule; no one can spend over $150 without consulting the other person face to face (groceries not included). You both have to sit down and agree that this is something for the family. The house rule should be specifically $150 per day and not on one item (this tip is for the die hard stop the spending fanatic).

5. Leave the debit card at home or in the car when you are shopping. Use the envelope system and carry cash. Cash has a weird control over people, once you see it disappear out of that envelope and it will make you stop and think about what you are spending it on.

6. Create a "what to buy me" list. These are items like a new iPod, purse, or pocket notebook. Once you create this list and it keeps getting longer and longer, you might just find out that these are not things you need in your life. You may even find that you can live without these things.

7. Think about what it really costs you. We do this for our kids by giving them an allowance to save up for that new game system. The kids learn what it takes (more importantly how much work) to get that new toy. Do this for yourself. If you make $20 an hour, think about how many hours you have to work in order to get that blouse. Is it worth the work? Does your husband have to stay at the office a couple more hours to afford that new pair of shoes?

8. The Waiting Rule. This one is our favorite. We found out that because we have been doing this for years, we use this without even thinking about it. Create a house rule that all big purchases must be thought about for at least 30 days before the purchase.

9. Don't spend for two days. Don't spend any money for two days out of every week for six months. We don't mean sit at home so you are not using gas. Don't charge or use cash for two days out of every week.

Deal Seeking Mom here: What tactics have you used to curb your spending and meet your financial goals?

Frances holds a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Mobile. She has a keen interest and ability in keeping every penny she and her husband earn and enjoys helping others do the same, and she offers money saving coupons, tips, and tricks through her web site at

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Milk Donor Mama July 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

I used to (in my college, just after college and just after we bought the house days)-- used to get something I thought was cute, even if it just cost a few bucks. Now (having been in the house for 5 years, and with a 2 1/2 year old daughter)-- I am trying to get rid of this excess stuff!

Now when I see something cute, even if it is only $1 I ask myself, do I have a "home" for this in my house? What will I do with it? If I've gotten along without it so far, can I continue doing without it?

We have a goal for me to be a stay at home mom whenever we're blessed with another child. And, we'd like to move to a safer, more family friendly neighborhood than we are in now. So those things keep me on task, for the most part!


2 Colleen July 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

We use cash for all our purchases, and have a set grocery budget ($250/month) and a set "spending" budget ($100/week). Once the money's gone, we don't spend any more until the next budget period begins. Big purchases go on a list, and we wait several days to several weeks to make sure we really need the item (so we don't end up with an impulse buy). We have a separate savings account for big purchases, and we only buy items that we can pay for with cash withdrawn from that account. This system works well for us - definitely helps us prioritize our purchases!!


3 Jessica July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am

Waiting before you buy is key, I think. We don't usually shop on Sundays, so therefore we sometimes "miss out" on some deals. But they weren't really something we needed anyway, so it wasn't meant to be. We always think about a big purchase. We say we need to sleep on it and it can also give us time to see if there is a better price elsewhere. If it is gone tomorrow, oh well! It can be freeing to have this as a rule and be able let go this way.


4 Bonnie July 24, 2009 at 10:32 am

When you are starting out, keep track for at least a month if not longer and account for every dime that you spend. When it is staring at you from paper, your spending takes on a new meaning. And you can really see how those "little" daily splurges add up.


5 Crystal July 24, 2009 at 11:06 am

Love this article!! The tips I really like and haven't heard before are #3 - getting the gift cards for a future purchase, and #6 - the what to buy for ME list. That one really could make a person feel guilty! Thanks for always putting forth such effort!


6 Lori July 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

Great post, thanks Frances!


7 Brandy @ Brandy's Big Bargains July 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

What a great post. Fantastic ideas. Thanks for all the effort put into this. We had some credit cards that we no longer wanted but still had a balance on. Once they were paid off, we found out that it actually hurts your credit rating to "close" out he account. So we decided that in order to get rid of the temptation to use them we put them into a big bag of water and froze them! After a few years of none use, the company will close them automatically, with no credit ding!


8 Madame Deals July 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Great post!! This is the best way for someone who has a hard time controlling their spending! It works really well!


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