What Tricks Help You to Keep from Spending Money?

The question to get your morning rolling today is, What tricks help you from spending money?

I was talking with a friend who is super frugal except when it comes to traveling. It seems that he spends virtually all his extra money on traveling either to new countries or to visit friends. I asked him how he could justify spending so much money on travel when he hardly spends any money on anything else. His answer:

Before I make any big purchase, I ask myself “Is this something that I will remember on my death bed?” If it is, then I purchase it and if it isn’t, then I don’t

While a little too extreme for me to follow, I do think it’s a brilliant way to get down to the core of what you want to spend money on and what you don’t. I have always managed to do this by delaying purchases I want to make – if I want something, I wait a week and if I still want it at that point, I know that it’s worthwhile purchasing it. I’m sure that there are dozens of tricks that people use to keep them from spending more than they should. What are some of yours?

Please share your own experiences on this topic as a wide variety of views and thoughts are helpful to everyone. If there is one thing that I have learned about personal finances from all of you is that there are always exceptions to the rule and differing circumstances can mean completely different solutions. If you have a blog and you have written about this topic in the past, feel free to link to your writing (although a short summary would be helpful). If you have recently read a good article on this topic, please links and share in the comments.

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19 Responses to What Tricks Help You to Keep from Spending Money?

  1. SaveForHouse says:

    Since I’m just starting out in my career and recently graduated college, it’s kind of scary (but maybe not because I believe this is more prevalent in my generation), but my main motivation is a pure passion to quit my job and stop working for the man! (The thought of not having to go to work is once of the most happy and motivating feelings around.) My goal in life is to own my own house, pay it off, save up 1-2 million dollars, and live off the interest. Then, I will be financially independent and free to work on my own projects exclusively, and do something that really creates value and gives back to society. Whenever I’m tempted to buy something I shouldn’t, I just think of the two options: (1) have that really cool thing and have to stay in my job longer or (2) quit my job at a young age and enjoy the rest of my life that much more!

  2. gina says:

    I grocery shop with a list and try to stick to it the best I can. If I pick up something that is not on the list, I ask myself if it is something that I truly need out loud (the people in the store often give me strange looks), but this will make me put it back most of the time.

  3. Traciatim says:

    My spouse spends all my money on going out with friends, traveling, and buying things we don’t need. That pretty much takes care of my spending. 😉

  4. Genesis says:

    I receive most of my payments through PayPal, so I simply leave some of my money there instead of transferring it to where I can easily spend.

    Another good tip is not to have a credit card. That pretty much makes it impossible to spend on many things!

  5. Dana says:

    On things I want, I also question whether I need the item or not. I am not typically a impulse buyer. My family sticks to a monthly and yearly budget for items. We also track our spending. I know that

  6. Mark Nelson says:

    I think it is great advice to walk away and think about a purchase before you buy something. So many people buy on impulse. They need to be able to walk away and ask themselves if they can live without this item.


  7. Princessperky says:

    Lazyness combined with lack of knowledge are my top two tricks. for example…..

    I do not want to cook dinner and have nothing convenient in the house, so ordering out comes to mind..well I don’t know the number, nor do I have a menu. Sure I could google it, but that is work.

    That and I prolly don’t have money, I could go check all the hiding spots, but that is work, so forget it.

  8. Candy says:

    You really have to decide between your needs and your wants. If you have a goal, like mine is to be debt free and we are doing all we can put every extra dime to paying off debt.
    Save every way you can.

  9. Chris says:

    The best trick that keeps me from overspending is to use cash. I maintain a strict budget and when I need to buy something, I bring cash. With cash, I can also negotiate a lower price with the merchant. I recently saved 25% on sunglasses because I used cash and had to gumption to ask.

  10. baselle says:

    I go for the classic wait-24-hours-before purchase. During that time I really think about what situations I’ll use the item, see myself use and get pleasure from the item. If I can easily visualize it after 24 hours and I still want it, it still might be a want, but I know that I will use it.

  11. Texas Girl says:

    With ‘things’ such as kids’ toys, clothes, shoes…..my new rule is that for every new thing that comes into my house, something like it has to be donated. It makes me stop and think…which pair of my shoes do I want to give away to get these new ones? Usually I just put the new ones back on the shelf and walk away.
    Plus like SaveForHouse I’m also trying to get on track to be a millionaire and financially free to give to people in need.

  12. Lori says:

    A trick I picked up on this site that has helped: I wrote HOUSE on the credit cards in marker to remind myself of our current goal. Even without bringing it out now, HOUSE flashes through my mind when I’m considering buying something. It has stopped me a lot lately!

  13. Chris says:

    I have two tips:

    1. Don’t shop when you are hungry. You will end up buying what you stomache wants you to buy.

    2. Don’t carry cash. It might be a mental thing, but if I have a 20 in my wallet, it is gone quickly. I feel less guilty spending cash that I do when I use my debit card.

  14. Destiny says:

    I really just keep in mind that I am practically always on a tight budget as a single mom. That huge responsibility makes it easy to not over spend.

  15. Susan says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the deathbed reference, because chances are that I will not even think about the things that I own if I am given the opportunity to tell my loved ones goodbye. I will be too busy hugging them.

  16. lmlh says:

    I figure out how many hours I would have to work to buy the item, and THEN decide if it’s worth it. Here’s a vastly over-simplifed example: let’s say you make $10 an hour, and you are considering buying an item that cost $100. $100 divided by 10 = 10 hours you would have to work to buy that item. Still want it?

  17. Gail says:

    With the calculation method of 10 hours at $10 a hour, it is really more in line with 13 hours for $100 because of the taxes, etc. that you have to pay when making that $100. One of the nice reasons to find as many ways as possible to NOT have to spend $100 or 13 hours of work.

    I’m always thrilled to find what I call passive savings. Savings that after a few minutes worth of work save me a set amount on a yearly basis. I did this with signing up for on line maintenance of mine and hubbie’s IRA. We save $25 a year each for the life of the account (20-30 years). I’ve had other experiences like this and I love them. Signing up for automatic payments of my Medicare co-insurance saves me about $25 a year between the $2 a month savings and no stamps to buy. As I do this for both part C&D that is a bit over $50 a year of passive savings. Never have to work for that savings again, but it keeps on working!

  18. Osadg says:

    One of our family’s spending tricks is to only use gift card purchases of daily “extras.” My husband pre-loads a Starbucks card each month and every time he does, they give him 1 free coffee. He know how much is on that card, and so it keeps him buying just the amount he wants throughout the month, instead of blindly going through each day!

  19. Martin says:

    I have been divorced for close to 5 years now, and that triggered me to be the old saver I used to be. I have still spent a nice little sum on my ‘remake’ but what items I own will stay with me. The BIG difference is that I have a save, save, SAVE mentallity again on almost everything. I spend money to live and stay sane, yes, I have treated myself. You MUST have an outlet in life. But I have worked very hard on saving as much as I can, when I can, for as long as I can. I have found one very effective trick. When I purchase a ‘want’ I match that amount in my savings. All of a sudden the reality of my ‘want’ stays locked in my mind. If my ‘want’ is worth 200 dollars, so is my future. I have 2 other items I will be apllying this trick to. Now I know what those purchases REALLY cost me when I had to pay ‘twice’ for them. Lesson learned!

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