How to Stop Spending Money: 5 Ways to Change Your Financial Habits

In many ways, learning how to stop spending money is about understanding yourself and your relationship with money. If willpower doesn't seem to help you resist the urge to swipe that credit card, try these tips instead.

Key Takeaways

Learning how to stop spending money can improve your financial wellness and enable you to pursue the life you dream of for yourself and your loved ones.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy yo stop spending money. We all have unique life situations, money goals, and mentalities that shape the path to financial freedom. But there are a few tried and true tricks that can help you understand which choices matter most for you.

How to stop spending money

1. Track your spending

Do you hold your breath when you check your bank account? If so, you may want to keep a closer eye on your finances. When you monitor where your money is going, it’s easier to see opportunities to reign in your spending. 

Track every dollar you spend next month. You can record this manually or with an app like Mint or GoodBudget. Categorize each transaction as essential (ex: rent; insurance; groceries) or discretionary (ex: happy hours; concert tickets; jewelry). 

When we can see our finances as a whole, it’s easier to spot themes, habits, or surprising insights. Look back at your monthly expenditures and ask yourself – where do I see opportunities to reduce my costs or spending?

Learn more: How to Gain Financial Stability on a Tight Budget

2. Get to know your “spending self”

Money is psychological, and we all have different triggers around how we use it. Certain environments, events, or states of mind can make you reach for your wallet without thinking. When this happens, your “spending self” is behind the wheel. 

Get to know yours – then team up to understand how to stop spending money: 

  • Environments: Do you tend to impulse shop at malls, fancy supermarkets, or on vacation? Before you put yourself in these environments, devise a strategy to keep your spending self in line.  
  • Moods: Do you treat yourself when you’re happy, or splurge when you’re sad? Maybe you swipe when you’re jealous, frustrated, or just plain tired. Ask yourself – will I still want this when my mood has passed?
  • Company: Some relationships can be detrimental to your finances, even if they’re healthy otherwise. Notice if you overspend in certain company, and suggest plans that go easier on the wallet. 
  • Guilty Pleasures: If you can’t help but splurge on certain luxuries, go on a temptation cleanse. Unsubscribe from marketing lists, social media accounts, or anywhere else you encounter offers you can’t resist.

3. Create your strategy for success

Once you understand your spending habits and impulses, use this information to your advantage. Devise a strategy to curb specific expenditures and keep your “spending self” subdued. 

  • Ex: I will only spend $100 on clothes each month. I’ll visit thrift stores and use resale apps. If I’m tempted to splurge on a new item, I’ll wait 24 hours before I buy it.
  • Ex: I will limit myself to one take-out order per week. My roommates and I will take turns making dinner. I’ll pack snacks so I’m not tempted to swing by the drive-thru after work. 

4. Reshape your money mindset

We all have a unique relationship with money, and it influences our financial reality. If you want to learn how to stop spending money, spend some time unpacking your personal money mindset

  • Understand your attitude: How do you feel about money? You may feel indifferent, fearful, jealous, guilty, discouraged, or hopeful. 
  • Understand your roots: Money mindset is learned, and it usually starts in childhood. Was money a source of stress or discomfort, or viewed positively in your household? 
  • Understand your inner-dialogue: Watch how you talk to yourself when you spend, save, or make a financial mistake. Is the voice in your head helping the situation – or cutting you down?
  • Pick a new money mindset: Pinpoint where your money mindset is working against you – and choose mantras that directly contradict it. When old patterns get triggered, take a breath and remember you’re unlearning. 

Learn more: How to Save Money by Training Your Brain

5. Set long-and short-term financial goals

Sticking to new habits can be hard, especially if it feels like you’re sacrificing something. Setting financial goals gives you something to look forward to. Instead of focusing on what you’re not buying or enjoying, you can focus on what you’ll achieve with the money you save. 

What will you gain when you stop spending money? You can set short-term goals, like paying off a credit card bill or knocking a vacation off your bucket list. Long-term goals keep you aligned with your vision, like saving for a mortgage or building your retirement fund.

Learn more: 

The bills you pay should pay you back

Learning how to stop spending money is good for your finances – but you’ll still have bills to pay each month. Now, you can harness these expenses to build your credit. 

With StellarFi, you can use your rent, phone payment, and even your Netflix bill to build a positive credit history. It’s simple, and only takes a few minutes to get started. 


StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.