What mental tips for becoming frugal that you use to embrace the frugality lifestyle when you’re a terrible spender?
Recently someone explained within our favorite frugal community that they are an impulse shopper with significant credit card debt and a habit of buying things they don’t need to satisfy their shopping urges.
After admitting to spending $3,000 in two weeks on frivolous things, here is what the frugal community offered in the way of help.
1. Talk to a Therapist
One user writes, “You’re buying these things to soothe an emotional need. If you don’t know what’s happening, you can’t create a plan to beat it.”
The urge to buy can be extreme. Talking with a licensed professional to get to the root of the problem will help you fix that need so that you will become successful with your plan. Without addressing the underlying cause, sheer will may not be enough.
2. Set Goals
Another added, rather than an impulse buy, is setting goals for items you don’t need but want. It saves you from buying now and scraping by until payday. For example, if you can save $20 a paycheck for a $100 item, focus on the timeline instead of the money.
It may seem silly initially, but if you focus on $60 more until I can buy the item, you are more likely to skimp on something else so that you can purchase it early. So instead, focus on three more paychecks. Your mind will think three paychecks is more reasonable to wait.
3. Use Cash Envelopes
Many agreed with using the envelope system. The idea is simple. You have envelopes for each of your bills for savings and spending. Seeing your money, holding it, and feeling it makes your mind think about how much you have.
When first invented, it was mainly in place of bank accounts. Still, in today’s world, it helps separate your money for easy budgeting and keeps your money as cash.
It makes impulse buying harder since you cannot purchase online with cash, but you can only use some money at a store if you have your envelopes.
4. Keep Cash Only
Someone suggested with most bills being able to be paid online or with automated payments, having a bank account is necessary. But it does not mean you should also have your spending funds in the account.
When you get paid, give yourself a budget for unnecessary splurges. Something reasonable, though, and pull the cash out. They elaborated, “Research shows that people spend about 18% less money when they have to pay with cash vs. plastic.”
5. Stay in the Black
One noted that lifestyle is a cycle of every month you’re playing the same game. So set up the budget and stay in the black. If you can make it, then you’ve won. If you fail, then look back and see what happened.
You’ll learn more about yourself each month, your actual expenses, and where you should trim your spending.
6. Ask Yourself Questions
Before making a purchase, ask yourself a series of questions to see if you need it and if you could get it for less somewhere else. For example, one stated, “One question to always ask is, would you use the item per $1 that many times or more?”
Another added, “I’m eyeing a $20 long-sleeve black basic shirt. I ask myself, Do I already have a black ls shirt in my wardrobe? If so, is there a reason that I would need multiple? Do I have something I can wear in its place in my wardrobe already? Lastly, will I think of 20 times I would wear this shirt?”
7. Your Time Is Money
Many agree that your time is money, literally. So think of your purchases in hours worked rather than in money terms. Please don’t consider your next purchase costing only X amount of dollars; instead, think of it as X amount of hours worked.
For example, if you make $20 an hour and want to buy an item that is $100, you would have to work 5 hours to afford that. It makes you wonder if you need or think it’s worth that item.
8. Record Your Spending
Someone noted this one takes time, at least six months. Record all your spending, all the small purchases and the large of it. It would be best if you did this for some time. A year is ideal but only sometimes practical.
Afterward, dissect the results. You will see all the unnecessary purchases you make—for example, the $5 here and there and how it adds up. Then you can start learning what you can cut.
9. Don’t Check Out
Several explained that online shopping is a significant impulse for some. You see it, you go online and purchase, and it gets to your door usually in less than a week. It’s satisfying for some reason.
But do we need it? Will we use it? These are what impulse buyers don’t think of at the moment. So instead of purchasing that new shiny object immediately, put it in your cart. Sit on it for a few days or weeks, then go back to it and see if you still need it.
Finally, one expressed that many people think nice things, equal nice people. Therefore our brain focuses on what we wear and have instead of how we act and treat others.
Refocus your brain, detach yourself from the social status of expensive things, and think of what your money can do for you. One user replies, “someone’s 200k Porsche is some frugal man’s retirement.”
We hope you enjoyed this Reddit list of the best mental tips and practices for embracing frugality.
This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved