3 Ways to Slow Down Your Personal Spending

The most common reason people do not have the financial wealth they would like right now is due to the discretionary spending choices they have made as adults. In other words, all the money they have blown on frivolous things rather than saved for their future.

What would you teach your kids about using credit cards? Is it crazy to teach adults to do what they might suggest to their children?

1. Keep on Driving

The first idea I recommend is to simply keep on driving. Stay out of the store(s) and you obviously cannot shop. This may sound easier than it is when every window you drive past has a SALE sign in it. This could mean driving right past the coffee house, convenience store or strip mall. We are all creatures of habit and I recommend you try avoiding impulse buying by simply staying away from the stores that tempt you the most.

2. Leave the Plastic Card at Home

Most of the people reading this can afford to pay off their monthly credit card bill, and that is a big part of the problem. When you can afford to pay the credit card bill every month, you don’t have to say “no” to small, impulsive purchases. Debit cards are only a little better in that the money comes directly out of checking accounts. Try going to for a week with cash in your wallet or purse. You will feel the pain of parting with actual cash and have a harder time spending it. You will say “no” to the impulsive purchases that would leave you without cash to spend on the things you really prioritize. Ideally, you would give yourself a weekly cash allowance every week to be used for any and every purchase made at a register. This includes dining, retail stores, etc. (For related reading, see: Credit Card or Cash?)

3. Leave Your Money in the Car

If you want to take it a step further, leave your wallet or purse in the car when you go shopping. It is true that many people walk into retail stores to shop (look around and maybe buy something). What if these shoppers left their money in the car forcing them to walk back outside and return before making the purchase? I know this may sound radical, but I promise you it would greatly reduce impulse buying by allowing shoppers time to reconsider their potential purchases as they walk out to the car.

Those of you who are over 60 years old might be wondering why in the world I would take the time to write about something so obvious as controlling your expenses. If you surveyed your adult children you would find out how an entire generation of Americans have participated in years of uncontrolled spending (whether they know it or not), leading to inadequate retirement nest eggs.

(For related reading, see: 10 Signs You Are Not Okay to Retire.)