When you have goals with your money, the last thing you need is to be constantly facing financial temptations There are some temptations that you can’t get rid of, but there are many that you do have control over and that you can minimize in your life. Here are 8 simple ways to eliminate financial temptations.
1. Watch less TV
We are constantly bombarded with marketing telling us the things we “need”, but accumulating “stuff” does not define who we are. And it’s not just the commercials. TV shows, newscasts and reality TV can bombard us with images of stuff we should have.
We got rid of cable a long time ago. Most people thought we cut the cable for financial reasons, but really, for us, we didn’t want the TV to dictate the spirit in our home. We noticed that our kids were getting a sense of entitlement from the messages of so called “family friendly channels.” We didn’t want to be bombarded with marketing telling us all the things we “need” to have in our lives. We wanted our kids to know that stuff doesn’t define us and that is why we cut cable and the amount of TV we watch.
2. Unsubscribe from retailer email lists
A lot of the emails coming through your inbox are probably meant to sell you something. If you’re feeling tempted every time you check your inbox, it might be time to unsubscribe.
When daily deal sites first came around, I subscribed to all of them, which meant that I was getting tons of emails letting me know about all of their great deals. Their marketing worked well and I found that I couldn’t pass up many of their offers. I wasn’t spending tons of money, but I was spending more than I wanted on things that I really didn’t need, so I unsubscribed from their emails. Once in a while I peruse their sites looking for gifts or for things I truly need, but I don’t let myself get bombarded with their daily email pitches.
3. Know the Stores That Tempt You the Most
I guess I could have just named this section, “Don’t Go to Target or Costco.” Why is it that even if I go in to one of these store for just one thing, I always manage to come out with a cart full of stuff.? It’s crazy.
The way I have found to spend less at these stores is to only go if I have a purpose and if I have a list. Perusing Target to kill time is a recipe for disaster if you’re trying to avoid overspending.
If I’m going to Costco for just one thing, I don’t get a cart. I can’t pick up extra things if I have no way to carry them to the check out. I will admit that I have gone to Costco for one thing and not gotten a cart but ended up at the checkout with an armload, so sometimes this strategy hasn’t worked. For the most part, though, not getting a cart does keep me from overspending.
4. Use Cash
There is something about parting with cold hard cash versus swiping a card that makes it easier to stay within your budget. I don’t use cash for everything but when I prepare my monthly budget I note the things that I can pay for in cash. Typically, I use cash for my kids’ lessons, groceries, clothing, and gas.
Using cash is especially helpful when I am shopping for groceries. I tend to stick to my list better when I know I can’t go over the amount of cash in my wallet.
5. Make Something Instead of Buying
Sometimes there is no need to go to the store to buy something because you can make it yourself. It also may be cheaper to buy the supplies rather than an item that is ready made.
A few years ago my daughter bought a ukulele that did not come with a case. She is tight with her money and convinced me that we could make a case ourselves. (She said “we” but she really meant “me.”)
I am not an expert seamstress and had never attempted anything like this, but we decided to give it a shot. I spent $7 buying a pattern on Craftsy, and we found all of the fabric, batting and even a zipper in my sewing stash. The pattern wasn’t very helpful but it gave me the courage to go for it so it was $7 well spent. After several hours, some of which were quite frustrating, my daughter had a ukulele case and I had the satisfaction of knowing that I created something that didn’t exist the day before.
6. Find Free Ways To Do Things You Normally Pay For
Finding people who offer services you need like lawn care, haircutting or babysitting, and trading them for something you can do is a great way to save money.
Several years ago, we started a babysitting co-op with two other families. We each took a Friday night to have the other two families’ kids’ over. This meant that my husband and I had two Fridays each month where we were completely kid free for four hours, and we didn’t have to pay for a babysitter. We had typical date nights where we went to dinner with friends or hit a movie, but many times, we just stayed home and cooked dinner together or worked on a project.
7. Stay home
Obviously, if you are doing something at home there is less opportunity for you to spend money. My husband and I have had fun date nights at home that didn’t require a lot of money. My favorite was when we our kids were little. We put them to bed, moved the TV to the backyard and watched a movie swinging on our porch swing. Not only was it free but also very memorable.
Another way that staying home can save you money is through online shopping. I know you could totally go crazy with buying stuff on Amazon, but if you just need one thing and you don’t have to walk through the store with a million financial temptations, staying home and buying online could keep you from overspending.
8. Be Grateful for What You Do Have
You won’t have the urge to buy things you don’t need if you are content and grateful for what you do have. My wardrobe is very small. I would like to have more clothes to choose from, but my budget and the time it takes to go shopping are lacking. I choose to just be grateful for what I do have and make the most of my small wardrobe by mixing the same pieces up in different ways.
I love this article that talks about how having gratitude will help you focus less on materialism and in return spend less. The article points out that our society tells us if we are sad, we should go out and buy more stuff. In reality, appreciating what we have helps us feel content and eliminates the need to spend.
I know there are lots of other ways to eliminate financial temptations. What do you do to avoid overspending?
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