I love to treat myself. I love shopping, eating out and paying for services that make me feel and look better. I’ve always been a spender but this past year, I’ve noticed that my savings have decreased and my credit card balance has increased. It hit me pretty hard – it’s still hitting me actually – that I have been irresponsible and need to get back on track. There are a lot of things I want to do, like sign up for workshops and get microblading, but if I keep spending my money on stuff, then I won’t be able to do those things. I’ve taken some time to think about the triggers that make me want to shop and I want to share them with you. The first step to ensure you’re successful in curbing your spending and increasing your savings is acknowledgement. Once you’ve gotten past that, here are some additional steps you can take to help:
Unsubscribe from emails and unfollow your favourite stores and brands from social media.
- Email alerts are how I am notified of sales and promotional offers from my favourite stores, and I almost always act on them. The amount of anxiety I have when I hit that confirm button is so hard to explain, but it’s there. It’s there and it haunts me.
- Instagram has become not only a source of inspiration but also temptation. Brands use it to advertise their products, bloggers wear the items well, and therefore I must have it (insert heart eyes emoji here). I cannot tell you how many times I purchased something because I saw it on Instagram. Great for business owners, bad for spenders.
Organize your closet and make-up drawer
- I love having new things all the time – especially clothes and makeup – and when I unbox and add them into my closet or drawer, I realize how many similar things I already own. Take the time to clean out your closet.
- Hang your rarely worn pieces in plain sight and make time to plan outfits. Pre-plan items you can combine together in multiple ways so that when it’s time to get dressed you remember that combination you planned.
- YouTube videos have also been a very bad influence on my spending habits. I love trying out brands and products and I end up with 27 nude lipsticks by the end of it. If there is a tutorial I really like, I go shopping in my own, neatly organized (key words here) makeup drawer first and try to recreate it from my own stash.
Set up a periodic contribution to your savings account
- I have numerous contributions from pay cheque deductions, to different investment vehicles, and thank goodness I do, otherwise I would have zero savings.
- As I receive pay increases, I also increase the contribution amount to match. I read once that a wealthy entrepreneurial woman remained wealthy because she maintained her student budget well into her adult life. That’s not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself, but it definitely helps to spend consciously.
Keep a list of important upcoming purchases and goals in plain sight
- A house? A wedding? That designer bag you’re never going to be able to get because you buy all these little nicknacks? Keep your eye on the prize. I find it helps remind me of more important things I need. Speaking of needing, after I’ve organized my closet and pre-planned my outfits, I keep a list of things I actually need (like socks and undershirts – things we forget about sometimes). I don’t have buyer’s remorse when I buy things I actually need.
- When you receive gifts in the form of cash and gift cards, put the cash in your savings account and use the gift cards for those big purchases you’ve been eyeing or the necessities. Don’t feel bad for using your gift card on groceries or socks. Those things add up too!
Meal prep and pack a lunch
- Ah my arch nemesis. I love eating out and hate smelly lunches. I buy coffee every day and have snacks in the afternoon (who am I kidding? I snack in the morning too). This is one that I know I should do. The biggest help here has been planning ahead of time and packing my lunch the night before, usually after dinner so that in the morning I can just grab it and go. I don’t like sandwiches so I like to make food that gets better with time, like soups and stews. Pinterest is an excellent resource for recipes.
- As for the coffee.. well I stopped buying latte’s every day, that helped a lot. My go-to is a flavoured cup of regular coffee (Butter Pecan for the win!) which saves me at least $3 a cup. You can also take advantage of your office’s coffee machine. I avoid dairy so I keep a box of almond milk in the fridge at work.
Splurge on basics, save on trends
- You will wear a good quality basic to shreds but how much wear will you get out of a trendy piece? Think long term when you’re about to make a big purchase and make sure it’s something important to you – for example, if you commute to work get yourself a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes and save on the trendy mules (Zara has great trendy shoes for reasonable prices).
- If you’re like me and have two wardrobes (perks of being a corporate banker by day), this applies as well. You will get so much use out of a good quality structured blazer and you can save on seasonal, trendy blouses and accessories.
I hope these tips help you, or at least inspire you to think before you click ‘confirm purchase’ at checkout. I’m going to continue being self-aware of my spending and think of my long-term goals. (enter sarcastic comment here). 🙂