How to stop spending money carelessly

How to Stop Spending So Much Money

We all know it's important to save money. Saving for retirement and socking away cash for emergencies often involves making sacrifices. The money that you would have spent on a trip to Uruguay or on new shoes could instead go into your IRA or your savings account. Making responsible financial decisions can be difficult, of course, and if you're having trouble holding onto your coins, here's how to stop spending money recklessly.

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1. Find out What You're Wasting Money On

If you're trying to start spending less and saving more, it's a good idea to find out where your money is going. Are you spending a large percentage of it on baked goods or electronics? By being aware of what's causing you to waste money unnecessarily, you can be proactive about avoiding those triggers.

2. Keep Tabs on Your Spending

Having a budget in place is essential if you want to avoid overspending. But if you realize that's not enough, you might have to take things a step further and either use an app or actually write down how much you're spending on a daily basis.

While that might seem tedious, it could also be a huge wake-up call for someone who's prone to making impulse purchases. Seeing that you used two-thirds of your paycheck to wine and dine your significant other might be enough to convince you that it's time to rein in your spending.

3. Get an Accountability Partner

Kicking a bad habit can be hard, especially if you're doing it all on your own. Finding a friend or family member who can hold you accountable for your actions can be an effective way to curtail your spending.

Your accountability partner can serve as a source of encouragement. Plus, if he or she is also committed to saving more, you can challenge each other to see who can save more money within a certain window of time.

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How to stop spending money carelessly

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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4. Pay With Cash

Not everyone has this issue, but for some people it's easier to waste money when you're swiping a card to make a purchase. Paying for $100 jeans might hurt a lot more if you have to hand over a $100 bill instead of pulling out a credit card. If you're guilty of living beyond your means, it might be better to pay with money you already have rather than accumulate interest and credit card debt that might take years to pay off.

Try out our credit card calculator.

5. Don't Shop Without a List

Another good tip for anyone with a spending problem: Always make a shopping list and try your best to stick to it. If sales and clearance signs usually drive you to overspend, it probably isn't wise to enter a store or go into certain sections unless you have a legitimate reason for being there.

To take things up a notch, you can make a list in advance, estimate how much each item will cost and only bring enough cash to cover those purchases. That way, you can't buy more than you planned to.

6. Plan Your Meals in Advance

If you find that you're spending too much on food, meal prepping can help you cut back. By taking the time to think about what you're going to cook for the week (or even for a few days) and setting up a budget, it might be easier to save money. Randomly buying whatever you're craving could be costing you more than you think.

7. Clean Out Your Inbox

Promotional emails can be more hurtful than helpful, especially if they're causing you to shop more often than you should. Unsubscribing from certain email lists and turning off some notifications might be necessary if they're tempting you to overspend.

8. Delay Your Major Purchases

Buying a car or making another major purchase isn't something you should do on the fly. But if you tend to buy expensive things without thinking, you might need to start making some changes. It's best to give yourself a day or two to think about what you want to buy and whether you really need it.

Taking the time to weigh the pros and cons of going through with a purchase is a simple strategy that can keep you from buying something that'll set you back financially.

Related Article: How to Save Money Each Month

9. Don't Buy Everything in Bulk

Buying groceries and supplies in bulk can save you money. But if you never get around to using certain items or you're throwing a lot of perishable foods out, you might be better off just buying what you need and eating what you have before heading to the grocery store.

The Takeaway

Cutting back on spending while saving for the future may seem impossible. But by taking our tips into consideration, you might be able to gain enough self-control to put an end to overspending.

The post How to Stop Spending Money Carelessly appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

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