How do you physically, emotionally and realistically STOP spending??

(80 Posts)

Please tell me the secret. It is out of control. We don't, happily, have debt other than the mortgage. But savings goals are not met, and I feel like I am letting down our family, our security for the future, by being ridiculously frivolous. DH does not give one shiny shit about it, as long as we are not in debt. Everytime I mention it to him, he just say's we're alright, but I'm the one that looks after the money. I can imagine him on turning 65, looking at me like hmm and saying, where did it all go? Too late then, too late.

So confession I've just worked out, embarrasingly, that I've spent (the majority on me and the DC) 620gbp/mth on average on CLOTHES for the last five years. Almost as much as we spent on food, 800/mth (includes alcohol, take outs, nappies). If I'd been able to reduce clothes spending by 50% we could have had 18k in savings.

So how do you do it?! How do you resist? How do you set a budget and actually stick to it?

I know that we are very fortunate btw, I'm not bemoaning our general financial position, I just need to stop with wasting it, otherwise what is the point of earning it? A friend summed me up well a little while ago, instead of an emotional eater, I'm an emotional spender. We are going through a lot of stress at the moment, downturn in work market, moving etc... and I feel a bit depressed, but this is no excuse.

Any tips gratefully received!

(I'm going to add up toy expenditure tomorrow, and will have to hang my head in shame even further)

Excellent PoshP!! I know things could be worse, but it doesn't mean we can't try to have more of a buffer against those times.

Whitebird I am NOT googling Vitsoe shelving grin.

I have left all cards at home, and got rid of my subscription emails as each comes in. I bought the DC some new underdaks and socks yesterday, about 60quid worth, incl a superman tee for DS1 and summer sandals for DS2, in the sales. That will be it for the rest of the month.

Once we move, hopefully we will have a bigger wardrobe which I can organise a bit more. I want to be able to see everything I have and coordinate outfits better (will probably ask a stylish new friend to help on this front). At the moment, I forget what I have in there, not that I buy double ups unintentionally, just that I don't make use of what I do have properly.

lavender I have a spreadsheet balancing all of our accounts and credit cards etc.... That I've kept since oooooh about 2000ish. It doesn't help me budget, it just shows what goes in and out. The stupid thing is, I'm a cost engineer and work with multi hundreds of millions budgets and seem to keep them under control <although I don't get to spend any of it directly>.

We just found out we are going to lose some income in our next job transfer, so will have to tighten up our spending to be able to continue any savings plans at all. I have 2 months left to put a bit aside for a holiday, and moving expenses, which I will do, we really need the vacation, and then living more frugally on DHs wage until I can start work as well in September-ish.

Lavenderhoney Tue 18-Jun-13 19:49:47

Op, I used to work in finance and everything was in Msmile it kind of numbs you to spending and took me a while to catch on my home cash flow was real and not in Msmile iyswim.

I am used to spending what I like, have had to rein in, and realised I have a slight problem with doing so. I too like nice clothessmile

I use our cash flow to see what we will have in the future and I add spending. Dh and I have holidays planned with a rather massive cost(!) and I tell myself maybe next week- and then repeat.

I also stay away from the shops , only buy the best quality I can, and only allow myself one of anything. It can only be replaced when empty or worn out and tatty. Unmendable in fact. Which stops me buying as I think I might see something better next time. This I learnt when moving from the sticks to central London and mooching round Oxford st and kings road at weekendssmile

I am very lucky dh is not a spender. He doesn't buy anything ever. He says to me get what you want, but I don't. We don't fritter money away.

emma16 Tue 18-Jun-13 23:08:20

I used to be pretty obsessed with shopping, not massively but a little & over the years as ive got older & changed I just asked myself who was I doing it for? I came to the conclusion that it was to make myself feel better about myself, lack of self confidence, relationship at the time wasn't great etc. But now I don't care if someone see's me in the same top more than 3 times ;) my relationship got sorted down to hard work & we are now happily married & I just realised that there's more to life than lining the pockets of some big fat cat's sat in their leather chairs!!!
I think a good thing to stop doing is buying & looking through women's magazines, they are the devil!!! I realised one day after looking through one that when I did, I was so bloody depressed as I felt my head had been bashed with the fact I needed this product, that product blah blah. And if those celebrities lives are that crap despite all the money they have & help, then god help little old me!!
So out went those & in came take a break where I could actually win money!
I also started saying to myself when I did & do go shopping, before going to the checkout look at what's in your arm/basket & ask yourself 'Do I really need to buy this?' Just think properly for a second instead of the impulse purchase & you will most likely put it back, I guarantee you!
Kids don't need loads of clothes esp if they're in full time school, they need more uniform than normal clothes. I buy my 2 a set of 7 outfits at the start of each season, then if I come across sales I might pick up a few cheap things in a bit bigger size to put away. Obviously when it comes to a summer holiday I do buy some extra things like shorts, cheap quid t-shirts from primark & little dresses from h&m for about 2.99.
I do really believe shopping is a distraction from something else, so perhaps just be honest with yourself?
And definitely make yourself transfer even half of what you would normally spend on clothes each month into a savings account of some sort, just to begin with whilst you adjust & once you see that amount totting up, you'll probably see a different perspective on your habits smile

Raaraathenoisybaby Wed 19-Jun-13 00:32:57

Emma that was such a good post I shall try and heed your advice.
I recall well the raging desire to buy that magazines brings on! Don't miss that!

duchesse Wed 19-Jun-13 00:48:47

Making a point of accumulating no spend days worked for me. I realised that the world did not cave in if that thing did not come home with me. Developing a dislike of clutter and a desire for surfaces has also curbed my spending urge. I have begun to envy people who lead pared-down lives and want to achieve that for us. I will utterly fail with books though, I know that already. The only things I can get rid of is dross like Dan Brown.

emma16 Wed 19-Jun-13 10:56:31

Thanks Raaraa smile I honestly do swear by binning those evil magazines! What annoys me is they are generally run by women too, putting pressure on each other to maintain this kind of lifestyle that in the grand scheme of things wont make any difference to the quality of your life. That comes down to who you spend it with, what you do each day & the memories you make!
I also make a point of setting a target of how many days I can go without buying un-necessary stuff. Sounds a bore but actually quite liberating, you soon realise where the pennies used to go!

duchesse Wed 19-Jun-13 11:19:36

Also "Do I really NEED this?" is a good mantra.

PoshPaula Wed 19-Jun-13 11:44:55

Emma that is very good advice. I am going to do my best to apply this. I like the idea of target setting, too. I am finding this a very supportive thread (thanks OP!).

I've always thought clothes etc would matter less to me as I got older but it doesn't seem to have worked that way...

apatchylass Fri 21-Jun-13 21:41:51

Perhaps it's like any other weakness - you have to plan ahead to stop yourself succumbing to it. So work out when you tend to do this shopping - is it late at night alone on the computer? or during the day? When you know, then plan to be doing something at that time to make it physically impossible to spend - go to a movie or go running with a friend, or do some voluntary work with old people - that one might help focus you on saving for your old age.

Does sound as though spending so much has become almost a hobby for you - a small thrill. If you find something else that has a similar effect, maybe it would help. Also, if you set up a savings account and transfer what you haven't spent in a month, you'll get that feeling of satisfaction.

Could you do a stock take? Sort out the clothes you have and that your DC have, and the toys, and organise them so you know they don't need another cute cap or tee shirt or whatever, then ebay some of the excess stuff and put what you make into a savings account?

Ime, people who are quite compulsive about something can be compulsive the other way too - you'll probably end up driving your husband round the bend with thriftiness.

Shitsinger Sat 22-Jun-13 10:20:32

I agree with apatchy and think you are addicted to the nice feeling when you have bought something new ( as was I ) . I swapped to a hobby or activity such as a nice hot bath with my book as a different way of treating myself.
The trouble with the shopping thrill is that it only lasts a shortwhile.
I had a big clearout and was shocked to find how much unworn stuff I had forgotten about. Big ebay sale and I now have a very nice wardrobe and I stick to the one thing in/one thing out rule!

Xenia Sat 22-Jun-13 10:57:18

Shopping addiction is a medical condition and people get treated for it. It can ruin lives.

It is an internal mental thing surely? I hate shopping. Genuinely. It gives me huge pleasure usually only to replace clothes because they literally have holes in and I love to wear the same every day. The children have often had second hand clothes. We just are not into material stuff like that as a family. It is an ethos. Every family has different morals I suppose. However I spend on school fees. It is not for me to tell one woman she should not spend £600 on clothes for example if I spend more than that on school fees a month.

Also we both were big savers so paid off the mortgage entirely when I was about 32 or 33 and then paid it off on two flats we let out at the same time. I think we preferred that to spending. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse who is the same as you things are much easier.

You could try never buying any clothes ever and leaving clothes shopping for everyone in the family to your other half. It is likely your own clothes will not wear out for a year or two anyway so no need to buy a single item of new clothes for 12 months surely except a few pairs of tights?

Triumphoveradversity Sun 23-Jun-13 18:35:02

I am also not keen on shopping, I have not bought any new clothing or shoes for months many times easily up to six months. Not sure if I could manage a year, good idea for a challenge.

You're right Xenia. When we move next month, we will have a better layout, so I can see what I have more easily. As I unpack I will organise it all and try to make up outfits, and see where gaps are, so I'm only buying necessities. I too have my favourite things that I wear all the time, so it makes sense just not to have stuff hanging around in the closet unused. The funny thing is we could easily send the DSs to private school, we are great at paying bills, and are never in c/c debt. It will also help we'll be buying another house where we're moving. I find it much easier to pay off something, rather than saving to invest.

This month has gone pretty well actually, we're 1k down on what would normally get spent, so that has gone into our holiday fund, yeeha!

I have thought of a hobby to do, photography. I already have the whizz bang camera, and software, as it's all digital these days, apart from the course cost, it'll be cheap ongoing. I did a course with a film one about 12years ago where we developed our own prints, and I really enjoyed it. I love taking photo's and get frustrated that I can't get the pics I want sometimes, so this will be a great thing for me to do. We will start up golf as a family too. We have the clubs, in the cupboard grin, and our new location is sunny and full of courses to utilise.

I think a lot of it has to do with our situation now too. We have had our lives on hold for 12mths while our company decide where we are going next. We've had so many stories from them and different locations, it ceased to be funny. It's a very stressful time. Even now, the hoops we have to jump to get our next Visa is ridiculous and the company has put in charge the immigration specialists that stuffed up our last Canada Visa's, it took 6mths to get them renewed, during which time we couldn't leave the country and were cut off from any health care, child benefits etc..... They have 4 weeks to sort it out <loses all hope> as we're then out of our apartment, and jobs.

milktraylady Thu 27-Jun-13 18:13:53

Hi OP I've not had time to read all the replies- but have you come across the software- YNAB?
"You need a budget"
Www.ynab.com

I was in exactly the same position as you with money pouring through & nothing to show for it & always feeling broke.

1.5 years after starting ynab & I actually have savings! I was able to budget for being off on maternity leave.

Ynab uses 'pots' of money where you allocate your income into & spend against it. So you know if you are over budget & over spending.

Life changing for me!
And a great app to record spending on the move.

Good lucksmile

oooo I like the sound of that, an app on the move. I do it all by spreadsheet at the moment, but it's more recording where we are spending than sticking to budgeting!

So this is a new month. Last month I bought a 23quid top from TKMaxx, and a couple of bracelets. Well down on the usual spend. This month, I will attempt to only buy one thing, so will consider carefully what I need/want. The DSs don't need any more clothes for the summer. There won't be any new toys, except for what the DSs use their pocket money for. I'm also teaching them to save half of it for bigger things, get them on the right road early.

We plan to go visit a Shark Exhibit in town, visit a theme park (found discount on cans of coke), attend jazz fest (free), and see Despicable Me 2. The weather has been lousy, but we'll still do lots of park visits, and try to get DS1 riding a bike before the end of the month. If we are still here near the end of July, we'll have enough from NOT spending on shite, to go to a music festival we enjoy, just before we move to the US.

Visa application is in, 3-4 weeks timescale, fingers crossed!

Oh and our landlady who we moan and groan about, for not fixing stuff in our apartment, but is an alright sort really, happens to be an artist and took me to her studio yesterday to choose a painting as a GIFT! Amazing!! I couldn't decide between 3, 1 DH vetoed, 2 we both like. We will approach her about selling us the other we don't get gifted, cutting out the commission of a gallery, which leaves us 2 big original paintings for little cost! Result.

kukeslala Fri 12-Jul-13 19:06:34

One thing go onto a mortgage overpayment calculator, input an amount start small and look at what you can save in interest.
* I'm obsessed with our mortgage any debt scares me!

SummersHere Fri 12-Jul-13 19:15:55

Firstly only use cash for non essentials. Do not take credit cards out with you, far too tempting.
Open a savings account for your spare cash that you have to give notice to use.
Ask yourself when tempted, do you really need this item?
I stupidly built up a lot of debt clothes shopping back in my 20's. Haven't used a credit card in years, don't even use my debit card for non essentials. I only go shopping if I need something in particular and withdraw the amount of cash I'm willing/able to spend on that item.

Kirrin Sun 21-Jul-13 08:55:05

I was just coming to start a thread asking for help with this! Some great tips on here - thanks.

My downfall is on line shopping - largely due to boredom blush I literally get on the computer thinking "what can I buy?" Rather than looking for something I actually need. And my solutions to everyday problems tend to involve shopping too. My "office" is a tip and my first idea to help sort it was to go to Staples and buy some nice folders. I have folders. That's not the problem!

I recognise it is a problem so I am going to pick a goal to save for and try and curb my spending that way. Also, I love a challenge so seeking out the cheapest deal on things might work for me also, rather than just buying the easiest option!

Laska42 Tue 23-Jul-13 17:42:42

ok do we need a 'stop spending' support thread? i could start one?

Kirrin Tue 23-Jul-13 22:12:16

sounds good to me laska smile

lljkk Wed 24-Jul-13 19:14:22

deLurking.
Problem for me is the main thing we spend money on is the kids, their clubs especially. That's going to be a very hard one to pare down.

£650/month on clothes. Wow. I spend £13/month on clothes (for me only, I mean).

newbiefrugalgal Thu 25-Jul-13 23:52:31

I'm in.
Started the cash in purse this week and once it's gone that's it-food and fun etc. bit of a nightmare with the start of school holidays but got to do something to stop the spending!

Lots of fab tips on here.

SarahLouise1234 Tue 13-Aug-13 11:47:09

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MissDD1971 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:10:49

This is a great thread.

I agree with magazines, I don't always buy fashion in them but they're very tempting even though Grazia high end fashion is out of my price range.

What I try to do now or would suggest is to all a set amount for saving for clothes, going out etc. don't go over it and if you don't spend the money then save it.

I also found the savings pot app a different one not used yet but planning on doing it.

Also what you don't miss eg transferring to savings account or pension then it isn't there to spend.

MissDD1971 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:12:42

Ps the cash in purse great idea. Did this when on holiday recently and really stopped me overspending and thinking about other spends.

Bring out what you need too. For day/week/night out.

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