It’s 2019, and we live in an era where spending money is not just limited to going out to a store, shop, or restaurant and making purchases in person. We live in a world where e-commerce has seemingly taken over, with Amazon dominating the online marketplace with other e-commerce business models struggling to compete. Anyone with Amazon Prime can tell you how easy it is to hop on the site and get anything you want or need, without having to worry about shipping costs. Incidentally, Target is known far and wide as a store where you visit to pick up one or two items and end up with a full shopping cart. Even more so, there are more and more sites and apps where you can order takeout or call for a ride with just a few taps on your device.
In this era, it can seem harder than ever to spend mindfully, as money spent via e-commerce and the gig economy can add up. However, there are easy ways to break out of unhealthy spending habits that you can easily work into your regular spending routine. Here are a few ideas.
- Use cash instead of debit or credit when shopping in person. When you only use a debit or credit card to make purchases, it can sometimes be difficult to see in real time how much you’re spending. Who among us hasn’t logged into their mobile banking app and notice that your purchases have added up more than expected? When you use cash, you see your money being spent in real time. Keeping cash on hand instead of relying on plastic can easily help you moderate your spending, even if you have to fight the urge to go back to the ATM.
- Have someone hold you accountable. Married couples generally share a joint bank account, so if you feel like you might be overspending, ask your spouse to keep an eye on your transactions and hold you accountable for them. And if you’re not married, whether it’s for your shopping habits or urges to order takeout, it’s a good idea to ask a close friend, family member, or significant other to hold you to your bad habits and help you change them.
- Before spending, think about it first. When you get the urge to buy yourself new clothes, video games, or other non-essential items, consider a few things first. Do you need it? How will this purchase benefit me? Can I find a cheaper alternative? Taking a more mindful attitude toward spending and impulse shopping can help you save a lot of money in the long run. While it may be tempting to order takeout from your favorite Indian or BBQ joint, think about easy recipes and see what you have to cook at home. Everybody wants to “treat yo’self,” as said on Parks and Recreation, and doing that every once in a while, (if you can afford it) is fine but spending carefully and mindfully on a regular basis is the way to focus.