Throughout this year I have been giving different tips on how to go through a no/low spend year. I’ve talked about determining your priorities, how to identify if something is a “need” or just a “want” along with some other money-saving tips.
Today, I wanted to take some time to share six tips I have learned this year to help avoid spending money.
Don’t go to the mall
Ignore what Robin Sparkles says, do NOT go to the mall. The mall is filled with various temptations, all of which are just begging you to cave. Every store has large signage advertising their “big” sale of the week, or racks of clearance clothing right at the entrance just begging you to come in and see what else their store has to offer. If you’re someone who is content just window shopping, more power to you. If you’re likely to cave, just do yourself a favour and find a different way to spend your time (and not your money).
Stay out of Convenience Stores
Sure, they are convenient and are (almost) guaranteed to have what you want, but how much money have you wasted at them? Buying a coffee that you could have made at home or getting snacks that you didn’t really need, but felt like eating after seeing it lookin’ all tasty on the shelf. Not to mention, all the upselling that goes on in order to get the sale price or the lottery tickets at the checkout that just look enticing. Convenience stores are there to make you spend money and they do a good job at it. I say that as someone who used to work at one. Do yourself a favour: grab a drink and snacks from home and save yourself the time and money.
I don’t know about you, but there are two things I do when I’m feeling bored: snack and shop. Neither of these is a good option. Rather than opening up another browser tab or digging into the candy, I’ve started finding other things to do. Start researching something I’m interested in, look up new workouts, browse Instagram, brainstorm blog posts etc. Do what you need to do in order to distract yourself and forget what you were looking at. You will be amazed at the number of times you don’t even think twice about the purchase that you almost (but didn’t) make.
Call a Friend
How many times have you purchased an item only to use it once or twice? It ends up sitting in storage for years after, just gathering dust. Next time, call a couple of friends or make a post on Facebook to see if you can find anyone who has that same item! There are a number of different outcomes possible here:
- They may have purchased the item under the same circumstances and be more than willing to let you use it.
- If it’s something you need long-term, see if you can arrange a trade! You may have something that they have a use for. This helps get some junk out of your house and helps them out too.
- They may be willing to sell you the item at a lower cost than it’s available in store. If it’s something you need, this is still a win!
- They may be willing to give you the item for free!
- They may have an idea of a different, more cost-effective, way of doing the job.
Worst case scenario, no one has what you need and you still need to make a purchase. What counts is that you tried! You’re no worse off than you were before.
Find a Swap
I have a number of water bottles and I use them all on a daily basis. One of these bottles broke recently. The first thought I had was that I needed to buy a new one, though that didn’t really fall in line with my No Spend. Well, I suddenly remembered that I had an extra one in the cupboard. The only thing wrong with it is that a rubber piece on the lid had black on it, and I wasn’t sure if that was mould or just wear. I had tried to clean it, but since it didn’t come off, the bottle just went into the cupboard. So, rather than buying a new bottle, I just switched the rubber pieces on the two bottles and now I’m all set!
Sometimes it can take getting creative, but before you just jump and spend the money on a new item, try and figure out if you have something else that you can use to replace it. You may be surprised with the solutions you come up with!
Make a List
Write down items that you think you need to buy. Every so often, look at that list and really think about each item. You may be amazed at the number of times you realize you really didn’t need the item! I did this at the beginning of the year. The shoes that I used most often for walking were getting quite worn out and I wanted to replace them. I put this item on a list, and about a month later I realized that I had a pair of runners that were too worn out for the gym, but would be perfect for walking. This saved me a purchase that I really didn’t need to make!
So many purchases end up being impulsive and aren’t items that you really need. Following the six steps outlined above, you’re sure to save some money and avoid shopping altogether. Your budget will thank you!