I did this tactic for a bit when I first started trying to cut back on my insanely out of control budget categories.
I annoyed myself.
Every time I put something I KNEW wasn’t a necessity in my grocery basket, I asked myself it it was necessary.
Each time I saw a cute pair of shoes and was about to try them on for the sake of pretense, but in reality, was about to snap them up in any size that fit, I asked myself if it was necessary.
I essentially annoyed the hell out of myself to make myself get into an automatic, less annoying mindset of checking what I bought, each time I went to buy it.
Sometimes, I told myself to STFU (Er..”Shut the…Fuzz up”).
Other times, I listened to my annoying self.
Gradually, I started doing it out of habit, and now, 3+ years later, I have got it down.
When I pass by a patisserie (fancy French word for store that displays fattening-irresistible-buttery-concoctions of flaky pastries oozing of deliciousness in a glass window), I get an instant craving for a croissant or a pain au chocolat (chocolate pastry), and I ask myself:
Do I really want to spend the $3 now?
Or do I want to save it, see how my spending goes for essentials and in a week or two, treat myself to a sushi lunch or dinner once I have enough to pay for everything plus tip?
Sometimes, I buy the pastry, but more often than not, I opt for the sushi lunch.
This goes for everything I pick up, but the best part is that though it may sound like a hassle, a mental prison or just super annoying… it doesn’t feel like that at all.
I feel empowered and free to really make the choices I want to make for what I actually want to spend my money on, and not letting my inner impulses run rampant on my bank account.
Now, I know that if I want to spend a hunk of money on something, it means that I’ve really though it through and I know I have the ready, debt-free cash to do it.
(There are mini bouts of guilt when it goes over $500 or $1000, but those usually dissipate into excitement.)
There are other options of gently annoying yourself into not spending:
- Passive-aggressive Post-It notes in your wallet, or on your cards
- Freezing your cards into a big block in your freezer
- Making a pact with someone to run big purchases by them
- Studying your budget & marveling over the free $ in interest from saving
- Starting a blog (hoo boy did this one ever work!)