WELCOME TO CURB YOUR SPENDING CHALLENGE
Spending money mindlessly is one of the struggles I have faced for the longest time in my life. It’s something that I continue to work on every single day. The urge of buying this and that is my biggest downfall.
Back in the days when I used to be a regular mall visitor, I always find myself coming home with something. I have never visited a mall without any purchase. Therefore, the mall is one of my biggest spending triggers.
Are you in the same situation too? Do you feel helpless walking away, empty handed from the store? My friend, know that you’re not alone! In fact, this struggle only proves that we’re humans. Weak and vulnerable to temptations.
However, things have changed when I decided to get on this debt free journey. It took a while to finally curb my spending. Actually I am still recovering from my spending. Temptations and spending triggers are everywhere and resisting them takes a lot of work.
My struggle is very real.
Recently, I have participated in a No Spending Challenge and my goal is to complete 15 days. I did not only met my goal but I went beyond it which is awesome. In addition to this, completing the challenge led me to a bigger realization that there’s something I need to work on.
This realization led me to challenge myself to improve my behavior towards my spending triggers. What should I do and how should I handle random situations. Going cold turkey isn’t the best solution so far. Indeed, it worsens the situation.
” Abstaining from mall visit saved me from not spending money,
but it didn’t fix the habit I have developed.”
Breaking bad habits won’t happen overnight. It needs consistency, persistence and determination. It doesn’t matter how long it will take you or how slow your progress is. What matters the most is how you keep going.
Curbing your spending needs a lot of work. When I was starting out, it was a total mess and it was a total failure.
I failed because:
- I was trying to accomplish more than one thing at the same time. Setting more that one goal isn’t bad at all but sometimes it just doesn’t work all the time. You tend to lose your focus from one of your goals and slowly you start drifting away. When this happens, giving up is the easier option.
- Beating myself up from not sticking to the plan. We make a huge deal out of making one mistake. An example of this is when I was trying to lose weight. There were days when I can’t stick with my diet plan so when it happens I beat myself up by working harder in the gym which isn’t realistic at all.
- My why is being outweighed by my excuses. ” I will start tomorrow” , ” I deserve this “, ” I worked too hard so I deserve a reward. ” Does any of these lines sounds familiar to you? Often times we find ways to justify ourselves from every spending we make to avoid our feeling of guilt. And in the end, we give up because it is easier.
- The challenge became too boring. When you’re doing a challenge without any accountability, you will give up in no time. Why? Because you’re just doing it on your own which is sad and boring. A challenge is more fun and enjoyable when you’re doing it with somebody who checks up on you and cheers you up when things aren’t going well.
- Lack of patience. This is the one thing that I really struggle a lot. I often say “one step at a time” but in reality, I am really fighting with myself. Often times, I don’t want to go through hard stuff that’s why as much as possible I want things to get done fast! But it doesn’t turn out that way, because in every challenge that we take in life, it brings us valuable lessons.
In order to develop a better spending habits I created mini challenges that will help you overcome your struggles with spending money. Are you ready? If you are, then let’s dive in!
CHALLENGE #1 : TRIGGER – ME – NOT
This is the fundamental step in getting started with curbing your spending habits. It is also the most important step because it helps you determine your triggers when it comes to spending. Not knowing the cause of your problem will not help you find the solution at all. Therefore, take courage and don’t skip this initial step.
In this challenge, you will focus on 3 things:
- Determine your spending triggers.When I was starting out with the challenge myself, I know already that retail store is one of my weakness. H & M, Garage, Dollar Store were just few of them but when I stopped visiting the mall, online shopping became my new favorite. Can you relate? This doesn’t make any sense at all because I did not worked on the real problem. Instead, I replaced a problem with another problem. Not a solution. List your triggers.
- Watch your behavior. Having enough knowledge about what causes you to spend money is very important. Now let’s move on to the next step. Let’s say you went to the store randomly so here comes the triggers. Now, brace yourself and start taking action. You can either take few steps back and simply turn around or you can take a step closer and buy it. Hard isn’t it? Yet, the choice is yours to make. Whatever is that choice, I am not saying it is right nor it is wrong. What I want you to do is to work on towards your behavior when you’re in situations like this.
- Make a reflection. Over the years, I have developed the habit of impulse buying. And breaking with it is very hard. It didn’t take me overnight to recover from it. It took me years and a lot of practice to finally succeed. The success of it lies on finding out what makes me do it. Am I buying because I am lonely? Am I eating out because I am lazy? We all have that part in our brain that convinces us to spend because ” we deserve it” However, if you can work on that you can successfully break that bad habit.
This challenge will bring awareness towards yourself. You will determine the cause of your spending problem and it will empower you to resist the urge of spending. If you’re doing this challenge, I have provided you a Trigger-me-not printable tracker that will help you succeed.
CHALLENGE #2 PAY BACK TIME
In the previous challenge, you were given the task of determining your triggers and working on your behavior towards it. Now, let’s begin the fun. I believe that you have heard about the cashback . It’s a reward program that your bank offers every time you use your credit card or debit card. If you’re good at paying off all the balance every time you use it then its a win.
However, if you’re the opposite then you might want to avoid using it before you fall into a trap.Well, this challenge is the total opposite of it. For every impulse buy or unplanned spending that you will make, you will have to pay that back.
Let’s say you went to the mall and bought a shirt for $10. Take that same amount and put it either to savings or use to that amount towards paying off debt. I call it payback because it’s like a punishment to yourself when you’re not behaving well with your spending. Now, before you roll your eyes let me tell you the benefit that you will get out of this challenge.
Benefits of Payback Challenge
- Payback will help you overcome overspending. Let’s say you have budgeted for everything. Now, you went to the mall and can’t leave without buying. Despite the fact that you have a room in your budget for that purchase, will it be better if you walk away from it and just save the money for a better purpose instead?
- Payback helps you discipline yourself. It will always be a reminder for you that you can’t just buy it because you have a budget for it.
- Payback will help you build savings and pay off debt. For every expense that you make, you will either send that money as a payment to your debt or transfer that same equal amount of expenses to your savings. And in no time you will surprise yourself as how you have paid some of your debt or increased your savings.
CHALLENGE #3 NO SPEND FOR X DAYS
Today, I want you to challenge yourself deeper. Have you ever tried testing yourself how far can you go when it comes to not spending anything aside from the ones that you really need? I have, and I tell you it’s not easy especially from someone who is a spender at heart.
No spending challenge is teaching yourself to overcome your bad spending habits. It teaches you to spend with intention and focus to your end goal like saving for something or paying off debt.
It’s all about asking yourself the following questions:
Do I need it or I just want it?
Is the money I’m spending on this item have a better allocation ( paying debt or saving for something ) ?
Is there enough food in the house for me to eat?
The following steps will be your guide in doing this challenge:
If you’re going to do this challenge, you need to sit and take a look at your budget. Review the days where you are going to spend money on and decide how many days you can go without spending.
Start with 5 days if that’s what you think you can accomplish then challenge yourself to do even more.
Slipping will always happen because this challenge is not all about perfection. Rather it’s a learning process until you finally overcome your weakness.
Now, are your ready to tackle the next challenge? I hope that it will help you curb your spending habits and turn it to a better one. I totally understand how it feels and I haven’t recovered fully yet from my bad spending habits that’s why I keep challenging myself to become better at it.
Are you ready? Let’s do this