How to Stop Spending When You Are In Debt

How To Stop Spending Like You Are Rich (when you are in debt)

(Updated 3/2021)

Do you often spend freely? Are you in debt? If you answered yes to both of these, it is best to learn some different spending habits.

If you spend like you are rich, but don’t have the money to back the spending, you could be driving yourself further into debt which will often cause more stress in your life.

Nonetheless, it is easy to become obsessed with the latest and greatest style, toy, gadget, etc. (insert whatever you love to buy here…)

Yet, if you want to save more and pay down debt this is counterproductive. Not to mention, at some point we should all look at saving for an emergency fund and retirement.

And if you are spending like you are rich, chances are you are in credit card debt at this very moment.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a list of ten ways to learn how to curb spending so you can pay down debt to live better.

Even if you aren’t buying big-ticket items, the “small ticket” purchases add up. But with a little work, you can retrain yourself to stop spending and get out of debt.

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Why Do We Buy So Much Stuff?

Current research shows, marketing is at an all-time high. According to Psychology today, advertisers use positive conditioning to ensure a consumer associates positive things with an item. For example, when you see a laundry detergent commercial with flowers, birds, and sunshine, it conditions you to feel good about the laundry detergent. The sad part is, most of us don’t realize this type of conditioning is happening and this is how the conditioning works best.

Just turn on the t.v. and you are promised a lifestyle of the lady or man driving the convertible, wearing the latest fashion, and eating at the best restaurant if you buy the said product. It is no wonder, most of us feel we are not good enough unless we have a designer handbag or a trendy suit.

Yet, these commercials make us want things, but there are ways to “retrain” your brain to pause and wait before making an impulse buy. And in doing so, you can begin to save money and pay down debt.


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Ten Ways to Stop Spending Like You Are Rich:

If you are in debt, it is time to stop impulse spending and start saving and paying down debt.

Often times we are trying to “Keep up with the Joneses.” Yet, when you see someone decked out with the best car, amazing suits, and stylish designer handbags living in the biggest house on the block, they may have a spending problem. Yes, it appears that this neighbor is wealthy; however, many people living a lavish lifestyle, also have major debt. It is best to learn how to stop frivolous spending and start saving for your future.

#1  Stay out of the mall

If you are in the mall or stores, you are asking for “spending trouble”. It is hard to resist an Impulse Buy!

Did you notice when you go to the mall, you actually buy things, but also make a list of other items you are going to come back and buy later?

For now, it is best to avoid the mall until we get spending under control.

If this is your favorite pastime, try finding other things to take up your time. You can find free things to do when you are bored by checking the local city websites. Oftentimes, cities will have free concerts, holiday parades, and events that you can attend absolutely free.

Find new ways to replace your old “spending” behavior.

#2 Shopping online

Don’t save your credit card information to online stores. Saved credit card info makes it so easy to click away and spend away. There is no time to think, “Do I really need this?” Its best to have your credit card info put far away. Then you have to get up off the couch and leave your shopping trance before you actually buy.

Suggested Reading: Ebates Review

#3 Don’t grocery shop when hungry

Did you know if we shop when hungry, you actually buy more?  According to an article in Forbes called Shopping Hungry? You’ll Spend More (Even if You’re Not Buying Food), “Being hungry amps up your desire to acquire things, according to new research from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.” (Source Forbes)  If your tummy is rumbling, you will be more inclined to spend.

So make sure to get a good breakfast before shopping. 

If you want to save more at the grocery store check out these posts below:

#4 Use Meal Planning and Only Go to the grocery store bi-weekly

If you are used to stopping at the store every night after leaving work, this is a habit that will further drive you into debt. Even if you are only planning on buying something for dinner, more often than not you will throw extra items in your shopping cart. These small purchases add up over time. Let’s do the math… If you stop at the store even four times per week and add an extra $10 worth of items to your cart, you spend $40 extra per week or $160 per month. What could you do with an extra $160 right now?

That is a nice chunk to start paying down debt each month.

One of my favorite ways to save money on food and shop bi-weekly is to use meal planning. Here are some meal planning posts to get you started. Most of these have a grocery list included:


#5 Make a list

This sounds simple enough, but many do not use a list at the store and randomly throwing items in your cart, will cost you.

The next time you shop, make a list of dinners. Use what you have on-hand to create a meal plan. Then add other items or meals to your shopping list. Try to total an estimate of what each item will cost so you have a rough idea of how much you will spend at the store.

Once you have mastered sticking to a list, then make sure to stick you your meal plan. By including meals you actually like, you will be more apt to stick to your meal plan and avoid ordering take out or going out to eat.

Need More Ideas to Stop Spending? Keep Reading…

How to Stop Spending Like You Are Rich (when you are in debt). Learn to curb your spending habits and get out of debt with these 10 tips.

#6 Pay With Cash

When only using cash, you are forced to stick to your budget.  If you go to the store with $100 cash for your bi-weekly grocery budget, you are forced to only spend $100. Make sense, right. Obviously, this will be difficult if you are used to using credit cards and buying whatever you want, but I promise you, debt is not a life sentence. Once you pay down debt, you can use your cards again, only use them with discipline.

Check out my cash envelope labels in the I Heart Frugal Printable Shop.

#7 Have a “No-spend” week once a month

Pick the first week or the last week… It doesn’t really matter. The key is to stop spending for an entire week. It is actually easier than it sounds. Here is an amazing post from a fabulous blogger, Kristen Larsen of Believe In a Budget, on things to do for a no-spend day or week. Check it out! (Tips For A No Spend Day, Or Week, Or Month)

By curbing spending, you are actually rewiring your brain to stop the spending habit. If you can make it a week, you can actually stop spending much longer. Start small and yes, pay your bills, but do not spend for an entire week. If you want to challenge yourself, try it for two weeks or even for a month.

Related: How to Have Financial Discipline

#8 Create a stockpile to eliminate extra trips to the store

When items you frequently use are on sale, buy in bulk. But when I say this, I mean stockpile items you will actually use. Some extreme couponers but what is on sale or free with coupons. The problem with this is you may end up with a bunch of things sitting on your shelf for years that you never use. So make sure you are only couponing for items you and your family will use and not waste.

How to Create a Stockpile on a Budget

#9 Take snacks with you (buy them in bulk)

Costco has great deals on bulk snacks and this is where we buy our kid’s snacks  We take snacks with us on outings, instead of paying for overpriced food.

Once in a while, I will buy my kids a treat when we are out, but life is all about balance. For the most part, we take our own snacks.

#10 Create Financial Goals

Sit down with your spouse or if you are single, just sit down. Write down your financial goals for the month.  Keep track of how much you have coming in and how much you can afford going out after paying your bills, saving for retirement, and building your emergency fund.

Set monthly goals, yearly goals, and a five-year financial plan.

Where do you want to be financially in five years? How long will it take you to pay down debt?

You can try the Debt-Snow Ball method and wipe out debt? Start a small emergency fund so if something comes up, you don’t drive yourself further into debt.

If you don’t use goals and write them out, the chances of you reaching your financial goals are low. Make sure to write out these goals and hang them up so you can review and track progress.

Stop Spending Like You Are Rich Conclusion

If you want to stop your impulse spending, you must make a plan of action. Use the tips above to help you stop spending, save more, and pay down debt. Again, debt is not a life sentence and once you are out of debt and able to build your bank account, you will be able to spend a little more, within reason.

Best of luck to you on your financial journey.


Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Related Posts:

  1. Budgets 2017 – New Year, New Budget
  2. 10 Outstanding Ways to Save on Dining Out
  3. Secrets to Saving for An Emergency Fund Now!
  4. How to Use Your Credit Card to Your Advantage
  5. 30-Day Rule – Wait Before You Spend


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11 Comments on 10 Ways To Stop Spending Like You Are Rich

  1. This is awesome. My husband and I sit down once a month to review all finances. I also coupon and use Ibotta to save a few bucks.

  2. Number 2 is such a good suggrstion! I noticed that when my credit card is saved to the browser, it’s one less step to take in checkout.. and it’s easier to click that button and spend more money! Great suggestions!!

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