In this post, I’ll tell you how to stop spending money you don’t have. Follow these suggestions, and hopefully, you’ll be able to improve your relationship with money and become more financially disciplined.

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How To Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have



With less than eight weeks remaining until we enter a new year and decade, now’s the time to master your money. Whether you’re self-employed, or a business owner, I want you to answer this question honestly. If today was your last payday, how long would you be able to survive on the money in your account before having to turn to the credit card? If you’re just a paycheque or payslip away from broke, then it’s time to make some drastic changes to the way you manage your finances.

I’m by no means a financial advisor or expert. I am just a wife and mother of three boys on a journey to achieve financial freedom. I’m simply sharing my learnings and experiences with you along the way, and hopefully, you take something from it.

Since the start of my financial freedom journey, one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn was how to stop spending money I don’t have. Just like me, a lot of people who claim to not have enough money earn a pretty decent income. However, the problem is they just don’t have a proper plan in place to handle that money. Do you have a plan for your money?

In this post, I’ll tell you how to stop spending money you don’t have. Follow these suggestions, and hopefully, you’ll be able to improve your relationship with money and become more financially disciplined.


1.  The Importance Of Setting Goals

In the words of Alan Lakein, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. This principle can be applied to money. If you don’t have a plan for your money, someone else will. Whether it’s the gym, online retailer, supermarket or restaurant, everyone else will get paid before you. That’s why it is so important to have goals that you’re working towards so that your money doesn’t keep slipping through your fingers. Having well thought out goals is the best way to motivate yourself to stick to them.

If you haven’t done this already, take time to set yourself financial goals. These should fall in the categories of:

  • Long-Term Goals – 5-10 years
  • Medium-Term Goals – 1-5 years
  • Short-Term Goals – Daily, weekly and monthly


2. Smart People Budget


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Regardless of your financial status, a budget is a necessity. It’s important that you don’t look at budgeting as putting limitations on your spending, rather it’s creating an intentional plan for your money and giving yourself permission to spend.

Without a budget, your money will wander right out of your hands and into someone else’s. Why give all your money away and make other people rich? If you stick to a strict budget, you give yourself less wiggle room to make impulse unnecessary purchases.


3. Stick To Your Shopping List

I mentioned this point in my post, money saving secrets that the stores won’t tell you. I’m referring to it again here, as it’s an invaluable tool to help you stop spending money you really don’t have. Whether it is handwritten on a piece of paper or on your phone in the Google Keep app, refer back to your list when shopping and don’t stray away from it.


4. What Are Your Spending Triggers?

In order to stop spending money that you really don’t have, it’s important to identify your spending triggers. Ask yourself, when am I most likely to spend money? What motivates me to spend money?

Are you a social shopper? A boredom shopper? Or maybe an emotional shopper? Pay attention to your spending behaviours over a sustained period of time and you may notice a reoccurring pattern. For example, I know that I can never go shopping on an empty stomach. Whenever I do, the shopping list and common sense go right out of the window and my stomach takes over.


5. Cash Is King

Many studies have shown that using plastic to spend money means we have less of an emotional connection to our money. The same is true for debit cards, not just credit cards. Try and limit the number of times you use your bank card to make a payment and instead pay with cash. You’ll find that you’re not as quick to part with your money when you’re paying with physical cash.


6. Where There’s A Will, There’s A Frugal Way!


Where theres a will theres a frugal way

I shared this thought in an Instagram post earlier this week, and I firmly believe this is true at least 80% of the time. In this post, I shared a couple of examples of this theory which I’ll repeat here for easy reference.

When I had my birthday BBQ during the summer, I really wanted a flower wall, however, I didn’t have £200 to pay to hire one. So, what did I do? I researched cheaper alternatives on Pinterest and learned how to make one out of tissue paper for £20. That’s a £180 saving right there from finding a frugal way.

I’ll tell you a quick story. We went to a wedding a few years ago in Kensington and parking was like £5 an hour! We parked for approximately 4 hours and paid the parking fee. A friend of ours attended the same wedding and wasn’t prepared to pay for parking, instead they found a frugal way. They knocked on a few of the neighbours’ doors and asked if they could park on their drive, after a couple of no’s someone said yes!

Some may say, what a cheapskate! But when you have goals and plans for your money you should always look for the frugal way. You’ll reach your financial goals a lot sooner by adopting this approach.


7. Is It Worth Your Hourly Wage?


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Always count the cost before making a purchase. The average hourly wage in the UK is approximately £12. Therefore, when you’re going to make an impulse purchase quickly calculate how many hours’ worth of work it will take to buy the item. Is it worth the number of hours it’ll take to earn the cost price of the item? If it’s not worth the number of hours it takes to earn the cost of purchase, then it’s not worth it. Swiftly move along and keep hold of your money.

This way of thinking about the cost of an item can help eliminate a lot of impulse spending before it even happens and can really help you save money. Time really is money! Looking at it that way can put your purchases in perspective.


8. Track Your Spending

October was the first full month I physically wrote down and tracked every single penny I spent. What an eye-opening experience it was! At the end of October, when I went through my months’ expenses, I was shocked to discover that over the course of the month I’d spent £65 at Mc Donalds alone. Guess where I’ll be avoiding like the plague this month?! Tracking your expenses will increase your awareness of your spending habits. Once you’re aware of where you’re spending all your money, you can do something about it.

Additionally, by tracking every penny, no matter how big or small, you’ll find you have a lot more money left at the end of the month. We tend to pay closer attention to the bigger purchase of £20 or more, however, £2 and £3 purchases add up quickly if you’re not mindful. If you saved £5 a day from little expenses, you’ll be saving over £100 a month!


9. Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists

As a Marketer, with over a decade of Marketing work experience and various Marketing qualifications, I’m embarrassed by the number of times I’ve fallen prey to Marketing promo emails. I should really know better! Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean that you need to buy it (note to self!). Unsubscribe from any email lists that are just too tempting. Without the temptation in your inbox every day, you’ll avoid salivating over sales and spending money you really don’t have.


10. Limit Your Social Media Use

Following on from the point above, another way brands’ like to reach you is via social media. Try and limit the time you spend on there, and if necessary, unfollow the brands that you find hard to say no to.

While on the subject of social media, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the pictures and stories of other people’s great new purchases and holidays. The temptation to buy things to keep up with the Jones’ is strong. Take a break from it intermittently. Your bank balance will thank you for it!



There are so many things that you can do to stop yourself spending money that you don’t really have. I’ve only covered 10 in this post to avoid it getting ridiculously long. I’ll be interested to know, what are some of the precautions you have in place to stop yourself spending money? Have you tried any of the recommendations I’ve outlined in this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


More Like This: 

If you enjoyed this post, ‘How To Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have’, then you will also enjoy my other blog posts on related topics. Check them out below:

8 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Save Money 

12 Practical Ways To Start Saving Money Today

15 Frugal Ways To Save Money On Utility Bills In 2019

Stop Buying These 8 Things To Save More Money