How do you stop yourself from burning through all your hard earned money like a drunken sailor on shore leave? Today we discuss a few mind hacks that can help curb your baser monetary urges.
The easiest way to not spend money is to stay home. No siren song of the bar, no annoying co-workers forcing Girl Scout cookies on you against your will or asking you to sponsor their self-congratulatory charity walk. Staying inside like Howard Hughes is not really an option for most of us but you probably encounter at least one invitation a week you could say no to.
You spend forty hours a week or more with co-workers. Do you really want to spend more time and your money with them at happy hour? Turn down those invites that you really aren’t that interested in.
It’s hard to say no to spending money unless you have a reason. Maybe it’s “eff you” money. The money that allows you to tell your idiot boss to go to hell when he or she asks you to work the weekend one too many times. Maybe it’s a vacation or the ability to send your kid to college unburdened by student loans. Put a picture of your goal in your wallet so you are confronted by it before you pull out that credit card.
Maybe you discover a new hobby and go nuts buying every accessory for it under the sun. You don’t need enough gear to outfit a pack of Sherpas because you’ve suddenly discovered camping. Borrow or even rent the gear to test out the new hobby. Hundreds of dollars of camping equipment stuffed in the back of the closet with your home brewing accessories and do it yourself taxidermy kit is not a good investment.
Our favorite tip is the “Thirty Day List.” Every time you see something you think you can’t live without, it goes on the list. If at the end of thirty days, you still want it, then maybe you can honestly justify the expense. This is even easier if you’re an online shopper. Put the items in your virtual basket and leave them there for thirty days. Some online retailers will even send you promo codes for discounts if you don’t check out right away.
Taking away decisions will also decrease your spending. Not spending takes willpower and willpower is finite. If you are something of a creature of habit, take away some decisions. Eat the same breakfast every day, develop a “uniform” that takes the decision-making process out of what to wear.
When you have to replenish those things, food or clothes, etc, you can find what you need and get in and get out. This cuts down on temptation. The longer you spend in Whole Foods, the more your will power will be sapped.
The final tip is to budget. If you have $100 to spend on lunches for the month and you reach the limit, you’ll be brown bagging it until the budget re-sets.
Mint: LMM’s budgeting for dummies.
Magic Hat Elder Betty: A great summer beer.