How to Stop Spending Money on Unnecessary Things

Doesn’t it feel like life is just a never ending cycle of constantly spending money? While we can’t stop spending money on things we need, most of us at times have spent money on things we don’t need. Wondering how to stop spending money on unnecessary things? Let’s talk about it.

Stop Spending Money on Unnecessary Things

It’s so, so easy to spend money on things we don’t need, yet we often convince ourselves we need it. We don’t make do with what we have because it’s just easier to buy something to fix our issue. The problem with that is that often it only fixes our problem temporarily and then creates a new one – financial troubles!


Before I get into ways to stop spending money on unnecessary things, I want to talk about times to spend on what is deemed unnecessary.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending money on unnecessary things from time to time. My husband and I really like eating out, and from time to time that’s what we do. It’s not necessary, but it’s something we enjoy.

It becomes a problem when we don’t have the money for it yet we spend anyways, or we are living paycheck to paycheck and have no wiggle room in our budget.

So, let’s say you’ve found in yourself in a cycle of overspending. You know you spend money on unnecessary things but you just can’t seem to stop. What do you do?

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Give yourself the 30 day rule.

What is the 30 day rule? Basically, if you see something you like in the store and you want it, tell yourself you have to wait 30 days. If in 30 days you still desperately want that item, you are free to buy it.

Here’s the thing – many times you’ll long forget about that item or you’ll realize you actually didn’t need it. We always feel we need it when we are standing right in front of it in the store. But once we leave the store we realize we don’t actually want it as bad as we thought we did.

When it comes down to it, this is impulse buying and a great way to waste a lot of money is giving in to that kind of temptation.

The 30-day rule can really help you curb impulse buying.

Don’t bring money with you to places you don’t need to.

Are you going for a walk to get some exercise? Leave your money at home to avoid stopping at the local cafe to grab an iced coffee. Going to a friend’s house? You don’t need your money there either.

Leave it behind in case you walk by a place you can’t resist spending money at. If you don’t have your money in your pocket you can’t spend it, am I right?

Use the envelope system

The envelope system was made popular by Dave Ramsey and basically what it involves is dividing your cash for different categories into different envelopes.

So you might have one envelope for groceries, one envelope for entertainment, one envelope for eating out, etc. Once that money is gone for the month, it’s gone.

This is a great way to avoid overspending. If you don’t have money in your envelope you can’t continue to spend on unnecessary items.

Do up a budget and track your expenses

Sometimes we really don’t realize how much money we are spending until we track our expenses and do a budget. Do this regularly and you may find it easier to stop spending money on unnecessary things when you discover you’ve spend $75 alone on coffee through the drive thru this past month.

Ask someone to hold you accountable

Accountability is huge and we don’t ask for those around us to hold us accountable enough. Whether it be your spouse, a trusted friend, or a family member, tell them your financial goals and ask them to check in regularly to hold you accountable.

Sometimes having to admit to someone that we overspent once again is enough motivation to keep us from spending that cash in the first place.

There’s also an option of having a friend do it with you so that you can be accountable to eachother.

Reward yourself

Sometimes rewards are really helpful for motivation. Give yourself a goal – like going 30 days without spending money on anything that isn’t a necessity (and write down what you define as a necessity, it’s different for all of us). At the end of that 30 days reward yourself with something.

Now, this is where you can get yourself into trouble. Your reward needs to be small. You don’t want to undo all your hard work.

So, consider your reward to be something small like a fancy coffee from your favorite coffee shop, a new body care item, a t-shirt from a thrift store, or even something that may not cost money like an afternoon of doing your favorite activity.

Keep your goals visible

Why do you want to stop spending money on things you don’t need? Is it so you can build up your emergency fund? Do you want to go on a trip? Do you just want to sleep easier at night knowing your finances are under control?

Whatever it is, write it down or take a picture of it. Post it somewhere you will see it often. Whenever you are exhausted from being frugal, or *this close* to overspending on things you don’t need, remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. It’s all worth it in the end if you stay the course.

Start living frugally

Frugal people tend to avoid impulse buying. Develop a thrifty mindset. Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. Many frugal people have full and happy lives doing the things they love. They are just wise about their spending.

Maybe you aren’t sure where to start. Try these 80 ways to live a frugal life to get you started. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the fact that there are 80 ideas on that list. Even doing a few of them to start can make a big dent in your expenses.

Hang out with people who do cheaper or free things

Can I be real with you for a second? There have been times in my life where I have gotten to know someone and have decided that they are probably people I can’t afford to be close with.

This isn’t to shame them – maybe their budget allows for the luxuries they take part in for fun in their life. But it isn’t in my budget so I knew that their socializing activities would never be something I could afford on a regular basis.

If the only friends you have are the ones who spend money every time you get together, it may be time to find a few people you can hang out with and do free things.

If you wonder what free things you can do when socializing, hanging out at each other’s houses is a great start, going for a walk, biking, or swimming in the lake are all great places to start. Make coffee at home and pack a travel mug while you walk and talk with a friend.


Most of the time buying unnecessary things is the result of impulse buying (which we talked about earlier in this article). Even if this has been a pattern for much of your life, you can get it under control.

Keep focused on your goals, ask for accountability, and develop a system that works for you.

If you can stop buying unnecessary items you will be better off financially. The cost of living is continually rising and so any way we can keep our costs down is a good idea.

You can change your shopping habits. You got this!

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