Money has a nasty habit of inexplicably disappearing. Where the process of earning and obtaining it can be incredibly difficult, its evaporation from your wallet can be almost effortless.
In an ideal world, you would have such a strong distaste for spending money that you only did so in situations that spending was absolutely necessary. But for those of us who aren’t “stingy” or just naturally bent towards being tight with our money, it can be almost impossible to keep ourselves from the lure of spending it on a variety of things.
But what if there were ways to train ourselves to just hate spending money?
We would stop buying things we didn’t need and avoid nickel and diming ourselves all the time. We would have less clutter in our houses and more money in our bank accounts. It might even lower our stress levels a bit. While we might always be “spenders” at heart, there are some things we can do to keep fresh in our mind the damage of over-spending and an unbridled checkbook.
1. Take Some Personal Finance Courses
There are actually a lot of free personal finance courses available online. They’ll help you get familiar with the pitfalls and long-term repercussions of spending money that might elude you in the short term. They’ll also make you aware of things like retirement savings plans, investments, and other things that need to be factored into your immediate budget.
2. Convert Your Spend to Your Hourly Wage
Even if you’re not the frugal type, consider how long it takes you to earn the cost of that trinket. You’ll be far more judicious about what you’re spending money on and whether or not it’s really necessary. When it takes several hours (or days?) to pay for something, that thing suddenly doesn’t seem so important.
3. Run the Numbers on a Retirement Calculator
Calculating how much you’ll need for retirement can be a sobering reminder of the importance of saving money. It can also make you avoid spending on unnecessary things and cut back so that you can contribute more to your long-term savings goals.
4. Write Down What You Spend
If you have a budget in front of you and you’re looking at all the things that you need to pay for simply to live, it can make you hate the idea of spending your money other places. That is, at least until you’re sure you have discretionary income left over. (See also: Do This One Thing Every Day to Defeat Out of Control Spending)
5. Carry Cash
The act of having to hand cash over to pay for something is psychologically more unpleasant than simply swiping a credit or debit card. Set aside cash to pay for the day-to-day things, and you’ll find yourself wanting to avoid spending situations in general.
6. Save for Something You Actually Want or Need
Too often we spend money in an impromptu manner or on things that we don’t really need or want. Plan to save for something that you really do want, and that will act as a motivator to avoid spending on other things. Perhaps a new computer, a vacation, or even something big like a car can be excellent savings motivators.
7. Find Your Spending Weakness and Calculate Its Cost
If you notice a trend in your spending — perhaps you spend a lot dining out — run the numbers and figure out how much money you actually spend at restaurants that could be saved by eating at home. For example, one meal out per day at $15 a meal for five days a week is $300 a month. Seeing that number in three-figures can be a good motivator to pack a lunch or eat at home.
8. Plan for Unforeseen Expenses
Things like medical bills, car expenses, or even taxes can often be unexpected and unbudgeted for and they will require that you have money set aside to cover them when they do show up.
9. Plan to Pay Yourself
The idea of paying yourself is simply the practice of planning to have enough money from your paycheck (money that’s not already spent or spoken for) to keep for yourself and to save. You don’t spend it on anything, but instead you just keep it for a rainy day. Consider that if you don’t do this, every time you get a paycheck, all your money is gone or in the process of being transferred to someone else. If you realize that you are the only one who doesn’t get paid when you get your paycheck, it can make spending money fairly cringe-worthy.
10. Value Your Money
People who understand how valuable money is and how difficult it is to obtain it will often have an easier time avoiding over-spending than those who don’t. Money itself should be valued above the short-term, and if we learn to view it as a commodity and an asset, we’re less likely to waste it on a regular basis and more likely to hate spending it.
Hate is a strong word, and it might seem unreasonable to expect to hate spending money. Because spending can be a good thing right? But if we lean towards the side that hates spending as opposed to the side that loves it, we’re likely to be in a more sound and consistent financial situation with better cash flow. And we’d all love that.