5 Ways to Just Spend Less

_coin_stack_poundsFor Halloween, a friend of mine spent £30 (about $50) on a costume for one night. I wondered how can you spend so much money for something that has no lasting value? I could literally think of a hundred better ways to spend even half that amount.

It made me step back and look at my own spending habits. And now I make sure I go through a few steps before making a purchase.

1. Think before buying. Really consider if you need the new thing and do you have to have it now? A good method is to wait about 30 days before parting with your money. A lot of the time I realise that I’m better off keeping my money. Also, think of the sacrifice. What am I giving up to buy this item? What else can I do with the money?

2. Do research. Is the item worth it? Is it a good solution to your problems? Check out review sites if you can and shop around for the cheapest place. Especially if you’re buying books.

3. Consider the long term. How long will it last? Will you be able to get rid of it easily/sell it on? Or is it destined to live in the corner of your room until the end of the year? What will you do with it when it is no longer useful to you? Finding solutions to these questions can help stop new stuff building clutter.

4. Want less. The best way to spend less is just to simply want less. Don’t fall for the consumerist mentality that the more things you own and the more things you do the better you are.  The most famous brand isn’t always the best. Try to cut out the expensive activities that you can do without, like more than two or three nights out a week.

5. Find it free. If you are spending a lot of money on activities such as going out, maybe try doing things that don’t cost as much, or better yet, free. Go to the park, make a cup of tea at home or do some studying with friends. If it’s a thing you want, this may not be applicable to everything but maybe you could borrow it, or even make it. Be creative in finding ways to not spend money. Soon you’ll be actively seeking ways to save money, now that’s much more challenging.

Do you have any tips on how to spend less?

  • http://www.paganwings.wordpress.com Rose

    A useful tip I’ve read somewhere talks about comparison. If you could spend a night in a travel-lodge with two close friends for £40, or could buy a weekend pass to somewhere/magazine subscription for a year for £30: Is that one outfit/dress/weeks food etc worth losing that night/subscription?

    ~Rose

    • minimalstudent

      Hey Rose, that is very good advice! Now that I think about it, before I came to uni, a lot of the time when I was about to buy something a money distortion field kicks in and my perception of money just goes out of the window. If I was food shopping, I would think £25 is way too much for a whole week’s worth of food but at the same time I would think that £25 was a reasonable amount to spend on say, two tops!

      Becoming a student has really taught me what it means to be frugal! A good life lesson I would say. And it was free :)

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  • http://n/a Aaron

    I know this is an old post, but it’s still just as relevant today as it was when it was written. I’ve been a minimalist for a few years now. I’ve learned from own journey that one of the most positive benefits minimalism is creativity. We are often told to think of our lives as a story…”to write a good story”. If you notice, all good stories involve challenges, and the protagonist being able to overcome them. In today’s world, the mass of our society has been indoctrinated to think that problems exist and objects exist as solutions to those problems. We try to buy our solutions. In the process, we’ve losing our creativity; and one of the most beautiful aspects of being human is slowly being put to sleep…that is, being creative. Finding creative solutions to get the same result versus buying the touted object has far greater benefit than just saving a few dollars. It exercises and develops one of the most wonderful things about our human capacity. It also helps us to write a more interesting story.

  • Neo

    Keep track of spending using tools like mint.com
    It really helps in cutting down on unnecessary spending.

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