How To Stop Spending Money: 15 Proven Strategies To Stop Overspending

A woman calculates expenses on her calculator.
BartekSzewczyk /

Managing your finances responsibly is a cornerstone of financial health. For many, the challenge isn’t making money, but knowing how to stop spending money impulsively. You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “How can I stop spending money?” or “How to stop overspending?” Keep reading to learn some strategies that can help.

How To Stop Spending Money: 15 Simple Strategies

Figuring out how to stop spending money can be challenging. With alluring ads and the convenience of online shopping, temptations lurk everywhere. But, to achieve financial balance, it’s vital to control spending. Whether saving, cutting debt or building better money habits, these 15 strategies can help:

  1. Keep track of everyday expenses
  2. Avoid lifestyle creep
  3. Implement the 30-day rule
  4. Limit credit card usage
  5. Unsubscribe from marketing emails
  6. Adopt a minimalist approach
  7. Surround yourself with financially responsible friends
  8. Set clear financial goals
  9. Use the envelope system
  10. Avoid shopping as a pastime
  11. Review subscriptions regularly
  12. Plan purchases around sales
  13. Create a weekly no-spend day
  14. Limit exposure to social media influencers
  15. Reflect on past purchases

1. Keep Track of Everyday Expenses

You might not realize how much those morning coffees, casual Uber rides or lunches out are costing you. To truly understand your spending patterns, track each and every purchase you make for a month.

Whether you opt for a traditional pen-and-paper approach, a budgeting app or an online tracker, consistency is key. After the month, evaluate your list. You’ll be surprised by the number of expenses you can reduce or completely cut out.

2. Avoid Lifestyle Creep

As your income grows, there’s a natural tendency to increase your expenses in tandem. Instead of immediately upgrading your car or moving to a pricier apartment with every raise, continue living at your current standard. By doing so, you’ll find you’re able to save more, tackle debts quicker or even indulge in experiences rather than material upgrades.

Make Your Money Work for You

3. Implement the 30-Day Rule

Impulse buys are the enemy of a disciplined spender. When faced with the urge to buy something on a whim, try waiting for 30 days. More often than not, the initial desire to purchase fades, helping you distinguish between wants and needs.

4. Limit Credit Card Usage

Credit cards, while convenient, make it easy to overspend and accrue debt. Make a habit of using cash or a debit card for daily expenses. If you do use a credit card, ensure you’re disciplined enough to clear the full balance monthly, avoiding hefty interest charges.

5. Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails

Shopping temptations often flood our inboxes. These emails, with their flashy sale announcements and new product releases, entice us into buying things we didn’t even know we wanted. Reduce the temptation by hitting unsubscribe. With fewer promotional emails, you’ll find your spending decreases.

6. Adopt a Minimalist Approach

Take a moment to assess the items cluttering your space. Do they all add genuine value to your life? Moving forward, prioritize quality over quantity, investing in items that last and truly enhance your existence. This approach will not only save you money but will also lead to a simpler, more fulfilling life.

7. Surround Yourself With Financially Responsible Friends

If your friend group’s main pastime is shopping or frequenting expensive eateries, it’s easy to get swept up. Instead, nurture friendships with those who appreciate cost-effective fun. Suggest alternatives like hosting a potluck dinner or a day in the park. Such experiences often prove richer than any shopping spree.

8. Set Clear Financial Goals

Having a clear financial target gives purpose to your savings. Whether it’s buying a home, taking a vacation or building an emergency fund, when you have a specific goal, you’ll think twice before splurging on non-essential items.

Make Your Money Work for You

9. Use the Envelope System

Allocate a specific amount of cash for different categories — groceries, entertainment, dining out — and place them in separate envelopes. Once the cash runs out, that’s your limit for the month. This method makes you more aware of your spending and helps prevent overspending.

10. Avoid Shopping as a Pastime

If shopping is your go-to activity when bored or stressed, it’s time for a new hobby. Consider alternatives like reading, hiking or learning a new skill. Not only do they divert spending, but they can also be enriching.

11. Review Subscriptions Regularly

Many of us sign up for subscriptions and forget about them. Periodically review and cancel any that you no longer use. Those monthly savings can add up quickly over time.

12. Plan Purchases Around Sales

If there are big-ticket items you need, try waiting for seasonal sales or discount events. Black Friday, holiday sales or end-of-season clearances offer opportunities to buy at significantly reduced prices.

13. Create a Weekly No-Spend Day

Designate one day each week where you commit not to spend any money. It forces creativity in meal planning, entertainment and other activities, plus it builds financial discipline.

14. Limit Exposure to Social Media Influencers

Influencer culture can sometimes make us feel the need to have the latest products or adopt particular lifestyles. Reduce the time spent on such platforms or follow accounts that promote frugality instead.

15. Reflect on Past Purchases

Take a moment every month to reflect on the purchases you regret and those that brought value. It serves as a learning experience and a reminder of your shopping habits, guiding future spending decisions.

Make Your Money Work for You

Final Take

Adopt these strategies, and the solution to “How can I stop spending money?” will become clear through your changing habits. If you stay consistent, you’ll not only save money but also build a stronger financial foundation. Watch as your financial health thrives and your savings grow.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding spending money.
  • Why can't I stop spending money?
    • People overspend for different reasons.
      • For some, it's an emotional outlet during stressful times, providing a brief relief or a feeling of control.
      • Others might be swayed by social pressures, trying to match their peers or favorite influencers.
      • Then there are those who simply might not be fully aware of their spending habits due to a lack of financial knowledge.
    • Understanding the core reason behind your spending is crucial to tackle the issue effectively.
  • What is the 50/30/20 rule?
    • The 50/30/20 rule is a budgeting guideline where you break down your income into the following:
      • 50% of your income should go towards necessities like housing, utilities, groceries and transportation.
      • 30% is designated for discretionary expenses, such as dining out, entertainment and shopping.
      • 20% should be saved, invested or used to pay off debt.
    • It's a simplified way to start budgeting, ensuring that there's a balance between living expenses, enjoying life and financial security.
  • What is money dysmorphia?
    • Money dysmorphia, although not officially recognized as a medical disorder, refers to a skewed perception of one's financial reality. It might involve an irrational fear of financial ruin despite stability or a false sense of wealth while in debt.
  • How do I stop spending money for 30 days?
    • Stopping spending for 30 days requires a combination of preparation, discipline and mindfulness. Here are some steps:
      • Prepare ahead: Stock up on essential items that you'll need during the month, like groceries or medications.
      • Eliminate temptations: Unsubscribe from marketing emails, avoid shopping areas and maybe even delete shopping apps from your phone.
      • Allocate a zero budget: Plan every dollar of your income, so there's no excess that might tempt you to spend.
      • Track everything: Write down every financial transaction, even if it's just a small amount.
      • Stay accountable: Inform friends or family about your challenge, or even invite them to join you. Having someone to share the journey with can be motivating.
      • Find free entertainment: Attend free local events, enjoy nature or revisit hobbies that don't cost money.
      • Reflect and reward: At the end of the 30 days, review your achievements, the challenges and perhaps treat yourself modestly for the accomplishment.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.


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