You might not realize it, but seemingly insignificant purchases can actually add up over the long run. For some reason, your mind is particularly adept at justifying the ways of wasting money on unnecessary things that don’t add real value to your life.
Whether it’s some fancy coffee on the way to work or an unnecessary purchase at Trader Joe’s, you’ll find yourself coming up with some BS excuse for spending money unnecessarily. But fortunately there are ways to change your spending habits and avoid wasting money on unnecessary things.
Money is more than a medium
You don’t have to get a bunch of fancy schmancy philosophical books to read up on this topic. In fact, what you spend your money on says a lot about your inner self.
When you spend money, you are in essence making a statement about how you feel about something.
We typically assume people with fancy gadgets and devices are wealthy or successful (or both). But that’s not necessarily true. If you have stuff, it shows who you are in the world.
Your purchases say something about what your values might be; if they’re different from what other people value then it can mean that you’re in some way different from them too.
Once you begin to recognize these patterns in your life, you will have an easier time making necessary financial changes. And if you do not, that’s because you intentionally chose to value different things.
Where are you trying to fit in?
The human brain is hardwired to live in a group of people. If you spend money on things that will help you relate better to others, that’s great. Don’t let your purchases become a habit though!
If you’re craving the attention of other people through wasting your money on unnecessary things, it means your values have been redefined externally. To reduce unnecessary spending, take a look at how much time you spend getting feedback from others about what’s cool and what’s not.
Tap into your values
The point we made earlier was that spending money on useless things drains your bank account. But it also affects another equally important part of life – what you stand for. What kind of person would you like to be? What do you value most in life? That’s something to really think about. Take some time out of your day and reflect on these questions because they’re not easy to answer immediately. You might need some help from a professional or a trusted friend or family member. But you’ll be surprised at how much clarity can come out of these soul-searching exercises.
Some questions to get you started are: What are your core values? How are they different or similar to other people’s? If you could live your life the way you want to, what would it look like? And what would it take to get there?
Prioritize your values and goals so that when push comes to shove, you can make choices that will help you reach your goals of accumulating your wealth instead of spending money on things that have no significance in your life. It may be difficult but there are lots of tools out there to help you get through this process.
Additional tips for not wasting money on unnecessary things
Get a Kill A Watt power meter
This handy little device will tell you exactly how much energy your devices are consuming and by how much. You can also get a “no-float” version that doesn’t require a hard electrical connection.In short, it’s an on-off switch for anything that consumes electricity, so you’ll be able to save on everything from appliances to light bulbs. And if you get one, make sure you get it through their website so the shipping is cheaper!
Save money on your water bill
Especially when you have a fixed income, it’s easy to pay too much for water. Take the time to consider what your water bill is actually telling you. Is it telling you if you’re paying extra for things you don’t really need? If so, it might be worth looking into low flow toilets, low volume washers and conditioners, and maybe even adjusting your electric shower head. But if not, at least take the time to compare your bill with other households in the area or schools or college campuses. You might be surprised by what these comparisons can tell you.
Prioritize your purchases
What’s more important? Your cell phone bill? A new pair of shoes? Or water to drink and cook with? Prioritizing your purchases will help you manage them more effectively. And of course, if you do end up having to make a choice it’s pretty clear which is more essential to your life than the other.
Find free alternatives
If the only item on the menu is an overpriced cup of coffee, think about alternatives. Is there a local shop that makes great coffee on the cheap? If so, try it instead! You’ll be surprised at what you can find if you just check around. Even open air markets and street vendors will have something for you to choose from, if you’re willing to shop around.
If you’re eating out and it’s overpriced, consider eating at a friend’s house or family member’s place. You may be surprised what you can save by doing this, and the added bonus of getting to know them better!
Ditch your expensive subscriptions
Streaming services like Netflix (which has a free 1-month trial) and other internet-based services like Spotify, Hulu Plus, and Pandora are not all created equal!Just because they’re offered through your ISP doesn’t mean you need to sign up for them. Always find a way to give them a try on your own first to see if you really need it or not!
Shop around for grocery deals
As long as you have the time, it makes sense to look at multiple grocery stores and vendors to see who has the best deals today. Grocery stores are always competing with one another for your business. And if they see you coming in – which they do – then they’re going to make sure that their prices are competitive with all of the others’. It’s worth your time, especially when food is a necessary part of life.
Buying generic is an amazing thing to do with your money. There’s so much room for saving when you consider that many of the things we pay top dollar for, are just filled with harmful chemicals and other questionable materials. If you’re not sure what to buy or if you’re looking for specific items, check out the Food Safety Information Center that has a handy shopping guide on its homepage. Or maybe they’ll be able to give you some coupon codes to prevent you from wasting money on unnecessary things!
Supporting local businesses is an excellent way to ensure your purchase is made from a product that was created in the United States or Canada and sourced locally.
As you can see, it’s easy to waste money simply by not looking into all of the details and possibilities of what can be done to save.
These solutions are all naturally low-cost. You can get more for your money if you do a little research, and in some cases, even less! But the good news is that you don’t have to choose between spending less money or enjoying life. You get to do both! You get to live more abundantly on less (or no) money! This is such a beautiful thing and we’re here to help you experience it right along with you.