The best way to save money is to simply not spend it. Now that is a whole lot easier said than done I know. Especially if you're not really motivated to make the change in the first place. It took me quite a long time to finally not feel the need to mindlessly spend my money on things that didn't really bring me anything but guilt. So I am going to share with you how I have stopped overspending and started being a lot more sensible with my money.
1. Have Your Goals in Place
I could shout this from the rooftops but we must always have goals. We have to have something in place that inspires us and motivates us to keep working hard and making those sacrifices. If we don't have a clear reason for why we are doing it, then it would be so easy for us to just give up and start overspending again.
Write down your money goals and make them specific. Try and visualize what it will be like once you reach them and how you will feel. You need to be emotionally invested in your goals to give you the push to keep going. You also need to remind yourself of them regularly. There is no point writing down your goals in a notebook that will get lost under your bed, only for you to completely forget about them. Have a visual prompt to remind you to be intentional every day in moving closer to your dreams.
For example, if you are saving for a deposit on a house then you want to imagine how will having your very own place make you feel, how will you decorate it, what will your new routine be? Then create something visual to remind you of this. So next time when you're at the makeup counter about to by that fifth blush (and yes this is me) you can ask yourself, "Will this blush mean more to me than getting closer to my dream first home?" And it won't, it never does. So just put it back and keep visualizing what it is you really want. Just keep that image and feeling in your head at all times.
2. Think of Every Purchase as an Investment
I heard once that wealthy people treat every purchase as an investment. I hated this at first because I thought, well how are you meant to have any joy if everything you ever buy is just a business opportunity? But I had misunderstood what they really meant. I had associated investment with money when in fact we can invest in our future, our mental health, our physical health and pretty much everything else in our lives.
What they meant was that if you want to buy that pair of shoes, are you just buying it because you like the look of them now? How will it impact your life? If your only pair of shoes have holes in the toes then yes it would be a good investment. If you are going to be a bridesmaid at your best friends wedding and want to have some special shoes that will remind you of that day every time you wear them in the future, then yes that would be a good investment. But if it is just an impulse and they won't really bring a lot to your life - just a lot less closet space - then it's best to just put them back.
Before we purchase anything we should have a dialogue in our head, "What will this do for me in a year's time?". Everything has a purpose, anything we spend money on is for us so we have to keep asking ourselves what it will bring us and is it worth it? When you start to think like this - and this applies to every single aspect of our lives - you will surround yourself with things you love and that truly bring your joy.
3. Turn it into a challenge
Once you get going and a couple of months have passed since you started curbing your spending you will start to feel proud of the progress you have made. This feeling will really motivate you to keep going forward. If you look at your savings account and see the numbers going up, that is going to really give you a push in the right direction. It is so motivating looking back and seeing how far you have come and ultimately how it was never as bad as you thought it would be. Once we get over the first hurdle, it becomes a lot easier.
You can kind of turn it into this little challenge with yourself. How long can you last without spending anything? How can you minimize spending on items that you really do need? If you feel like you are actually gaining something by not spending then you are more likely to hold off. Eventually, your mindset will change and your money will become more valuable to you. You will stop even wanting to spend it on things that are not going to really bring you joy. You just need to do a little work before you get to this stage. But once you get there it will be worth it and your dream will be in reaching distance.
Are there any other ways that you like to motivate yourself to stop spending?