Simple Tips for Reducing Spending

reduce spending tipsHave you made some poor financial decisions in the past and now you’re trying to undo the damage and get back on track?  It can be pretty frustrating when you think about how much digging you have to do to get out of debt.

In fact, many people take a look at their finances and immediately get discouraged.  They just can’t imagine any way they can possibly pay off all their debts and take control of their finances.

But I want you to know that no matter how bleak the situation looks right now, it is never hopeless. Sure, you’ll have to make some tough decisions, cut back on your expenses, and bust your butt to earn more income…but with focus and determination you can do it.

The most important step in getting your debt under control is to stop the bleeding.  Your current spending habits are what got you into debt in the first place so now is the time to make some changes.

Start by taking a cold, hard look at your spending.  You might feel like you only spend on absolute necessities but everyone has expenses they can cut without even thinking about it.  Are you overpaying for your cable or cell phone packages?  Paying more than necessary for items simply because you’re too lazy to spend a few minutes shopping around online?  Getting hit with overdraft charges and credit card late fees because you can’t balance your checkbook?

These money leaks are very common and they could be keeping you from reaching your financial goals.

It should go without saying that you should stop using your credit cards immediately.  The goal is to get your balances paid off as fast as possible and that won’t happen if you keep charging away.  Stop carrying your credit cards around with you everywhere you go or freeze them in a block of ice if you don’t think you can withstand the temptation to use them.

You may even want to cancel some of them (though that may have a negative effect on your credit score* in the short-term) and transfer all your balances to a card that offers a low introductory APR.  There are many cards that come with zero percent offers for a year or more, as well as bonus points you can use to earn valuable rewards.

*Check Your Credit for Free with Credit Sesame

The key to remember here is that you have to learn how to live within your means. If you don’t have enough money to pay for something, don’t buy it.

Of course, that is easier said than done in today’s world where everyone wants to have the latest gadget and the hottest new outfit to impress their friends.  But overspending to keep up with the Joneses will lead only to disaster.  Sure, you’ll look really good at first and you may impress a lot of people. But when the bills come due will they be there to help you pay for all that stuff?

What other tips can you think of that would help trip your spending?


Image via Tax Credits; enhanced by me!

I've Been Cable Free for 4 Years and Here's How

While in debt, I cut cable and haven't looked back. It's easier than you think especially with new services out on the market. One of my favorites is Sling TV, which allows you to watch live TV on the internet. It's awesome. Check out my Sling TV review.

Click here for a free, 7-day trial

About the Author Mike Collins

Mike Collins is a professional blogger and freelance writer. He’s also a husband and father of three children who keep him very busy. You can read more about his quest to achieve financial freedom for his family at

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

Kate @ Money Propeller says July 30

Ouch, I really had a hard time to control my bleeding. Just now, I already spent $71 just for our groceries, I tried to control my spending, but honestly, it’s really so hard.

debt debs says July 30

Don’t buy anything, just put it on a list. If you find that you still need that thing in one week or one month, then go ahead and buy it. Delayed spending and no spend days or weeks really help with cash flow when you are trying to get some traction in the early days.

John @ Wise Dollar says July 30

Good tips Mike. For me, it came down to me basically not going out – or if I did not go out with any money to speak of. I knew if I had it then I would spend it. I was addicted to the spending and that helped break me of the felt need or urge just to spend.

Laurie @wellkeptwallet says July 30

Man, did we learn our lesson in this area. We didn’t spend track in 2012, but thought we were spending well. When we went back and analyzed our spending for the year, we found leaks all over the place. We consistently spent several hundred dollars more a month than we thought we spent. Spend-tracking will give you a clear picture of your money that will indeed help you to reduce spending. Great post, Mike!

Holly@ClubThrifty says July 30

We keep our spending in check by using a monthly zero-sum budget. That is truly the only thing that works. It keeps us accountable.

Brad @ How to Save Money says July 30

Debt can be really overwhelming. It is so easy to get into and these days so difficult to get out of. I think it is the product of our times. Too many people chasing after too few resources.

Shannon @ Financially Blonde says July 30

Stopping the bleeding is a critical first step. So many people don’t even realize they are bleeding money. I help my clients find the gap, but I advise people who don’t have a third party observer, to ask someone they trust about their spending. Sometimes it really helps to have a disinterested third party weigh in on our money choices for us to realize where the problem areas exist.

DC @ Young Adult Money says July 30

I think the first thing that you need to do is to start tracking your spending. If you don’t know what you are spending, how can you possibly start spending less? Or, how do you know you are succeeding in spending less?

Thias @ Wealth Hike says July 30

When I shop online, normally through Amazon, I try to find an item, place it in my cart or wish list, and then sleep on the purchase. This gives me time to think about whether I really need the item or if I am just looking to buy a certain item as an impulse. There are multiple items that I didn’t end up buying because I took a day before actually making the purchase.

Lance says July 30

I find folks have more sustaining power when they have some sort of success at what they are trying to do, no matter if it is fitness or cutting spending. Instead of taking on the whole debt and being overwhelmed pick out something you can accomplish and cut back. Once you have success you have more confidence in yourself. Then take on a little more. Continuity is better than a one time burst of action that fades away. I know when my wife and I shop one of us always ends up taking something back once we get to the check out counter. We seem to always say. “do we really need this?” Having a team member to help out really helps determining wants versus needs. Plus when the bank account and investments slowly start to grow, that is much more exciting than having “stuff.”

Joseph Brown says July 30

Great tips. I would like to simply add that once discretionary spending is under control, it’s important to reduce the likelihood one turns to credit cards for emergency situations. You can reduce, or eliminate, the need to turn to credit cards for unexpected financial emergencies by simply saving a small emergency fund, say $2k-$3k. Consumer debt is a freedom killer, and getting rid of debt starts with small changes in habits. Great post!

Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank says July 30

To create a balanced budget or increase savings, most people will have to find a way to earn more or spend less. If the idea of spending less sounds challenging, try starting small. It’s important to understand that every purchase we make is a choice.

Mrs. Frugalwoods says July 31

Great advice here! I’ll second what Debt Debs shared–write it down and wait. I also think that differentiating between wants and needs is another helpful tactic. It might seem like you need a new phone, but in the end, it’s really a want. As you mentioned, scrutinize your “necessities”!

MoneyMiniBlog says August 1

Great article! There are so many ways we can cut spending, if we just pay attention. I love Credit Sesame by the way!

Ryan @ Impersonal Finance says August 1

Great list. I think the biggest thing is to determine what is actually a “want” that you have categorized as a “need.” Once you realized you don’t need everything you think, it becomes easier to trim the budget.

Add Your Reply


This guide will show you the tools and sites I used to get control of my finances. They can help anyone and without them, I might still be in a lot of debt.
We respect your information and never spam
5 Great Tools to Rescue Your Finances
Join Me in Learning How to Save and Make More Money (Plus a free money tools guide!)