Spending money is a part of life…because, of course, living isn’t free. We need to spend money on necessities – like housing, food, transportation and clothes.
But let’s be honest. We often spend more money on those things than we need to – and that is not all we are spending money on. Spending money is easy. So, so,so darn easy.
A few weekday lunches out, a trip to Target, a prescription pick-up at Walgreens, and sale at our favorite online retailor and – poof! – our money is spent.
At every turn, we are bombarded with new things to buy - instore or online. We are susceptible to sly tricks and lured in by slick marketing efforts. With new neuro-marketing technologies, advertisers are trying to hack our brain in order to sell us their product.
And it’s not just the marketers; we talk ourselves into spending money. It’s something we need, something we want. Then, when we spend unnecessary money, any twinge of guilt is placated by rationalizing our expenditures. But this salad spinner would make my life so much easier!!!
People spend money – beyond the necessities – for a variety of reasons. Status, acceptance, convenience, and gratification are a few of the most common spending triggers. We buy things because we believe/wish they are going to help us be the person we want to become (ps. they are not). However, your spending habits cause clutter and contribute to why you struggle to stay organized.
If you are trying to declutter your life, and save money then learning how to reset your spending habits is essential!
Here are a few of my top tips that will help you declutter by resetting your spending habits.
1. BUILD A BUDGET
Creating a budget allows you to have a clear overview of your money situation. You can see what money is coming in, what is going out and where it is going. It is important that your budget aligns with your priorities if these are out of wack more clutter is simply created.
The best part about budgeting is that you get to dictate where each dollar you earn is spent. By putting a monthly budget into place, you can stop yourself from spending money uncontrollably and start spending with intention.
2. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Out of sight out of mind. It you don't track it how do you know? Start tracking your expenditures so you can see where all your $ is really going. I spend how much on eating out? There is no way I spend that much on clothes! I didn’t even know I was signed up for those subscription services.
However, the digits don’t lie – and they are really good at pointing out blind spots. When you get into the habit of tracking every cent you spend, you attain a higher awareness of your spending habits. In fact, tracking your spending is an essential key to organizing your finances and clearing the clutter.
3. LEVERAGE A LIST
Impulse buys are one of the top ways we let money slip through our fingers. We go into the store to buy one thing and leave with two full bags. Fear not; there is a way to stop impulse spending! The cure is making a simple list. Before going shopping or stepping foot into a store, write down a list of what you need to buy.
When you enter the store, with your list in hand, resist all temptation and do not deviate from the list. Say it again: Do Not Deviate From The List. Make that your mantra as you swiftly walk down the aisles to collect only the items on your list.
4. TERMINATE THE TEMPTATIONS
A tried-and-true way of how not to spend money is to reduce temptations. Each day, we are confronted with a thousand different ways to part us from our money. The latest-and-greatest gadget, this season’s new line of clothing, and a sale too good to pass up. Yes, the struggle is real. And the best way to stop spending money is to eliminate the temptation.
Unsubscribe. End your subscription services (yes, I know Grove Collaborative is so great) and use up what you have. Say no to events you don’t want to go to or freebies you don’t need. If you need 1 thing from Target order it online to prevent the impulsive must haves. Unsubscribe from retailer emails. Remove your stored credit card info from online shops (yes, even Amazon).
Stay Out of Stores (And that includes online shopping, too!) Too many people aimlessly wandering around Target / Costco, filling up their cart with things that they didn’t need. Maybe you are one of these people who convinces themselves that they need to go to Target to save $1.00 on hand soap…only to wind up spending $100 bucks on a cartload of stuff you never intended to buy. The easiest solution to prevent spending money unnecessarily is to stop going into stores. It may sound extreme to some people, but if you are determined to slash your spending, staying out of stores may be a weapon of your choice.
Ban Bulk Buying Ok, yes some products are cheaper by the oz if purchased in bulk but you also have to take into consideration the storage cost. If in your space you don’t have room for 100 rolls of paper towels – don’t buy them. If your space doesn’t have room to home 100 micro - fiber towels don’t buy them. Bottom line, excess is clutter.
Forgo Fancy Coffee Drinking coffee is a ritual for some people. I used to get a Caribou Coffee everyday – as my office had one right past our main entrance. It was more habit than anything. It was also a good excuse to take a break during the day. My multiple $5 mochas daily quickly added up. Instead of buying a coffee (or two or three) every day from a coffee shop, consider purchasing a thermos cup and making your own. Another cheaper and healthier option is to exchange one cup of coffee for one cup of tea or even a glass of water. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much money you would save, but if you apply this mindset to every area of spending, you will make all the difference.
Be easy on yourself. Resetting your spending habits is no easy feat especially if you have children or other members of your family who are contributors.
Decluttering along with honing your spending habits takes effort over time. Remember, habits are often the default response we revert to unless we have a strong desire to act differently. Your life today is the sum of your habits - what habits are distracting and which ones are helping your goals?
Remove distractions in your life - clutter, bad habits and take small little steps toward your goal. Then just keep on steppin'.
Founder & Chief Organizer @Mindfully Minimized
Mindfully Minimized is a holistic organizational solution company committed to helping people clear the clutter from their lives. Based in Minneapolis, Mindfully Minimized was founded by owner and chief organizer Leah Morris who works alongside her clients to help them with their challenging spaces to create a beautifully organized home focused around their intention. Leah is a professional organizer, decluttering expert, speaker & coach. She is committed to helping people declutter their lives to focus on what they love. With her passion for providing solutions to problems and serving others she is able to transform spaces to be more clam, purposeful, sustainable, and joyously livable. Check out her website or you can also follow her on Instagram or on facebook.