Do you wish you could stop spending money?
Are you tired of not living your dreams?
Find yourself wishing you could “afford it”?
So how do you go from spending like crazy on every little thing that you need and don’t need?
To be financially responsible for every single cent, from budgeting to managing your income? And then, finally to be in a position to live your dream life.
Part of that journey for me has been taking on the mindset of a poorer person. Somehow saying no with “I’m broke” is a lot easier than “I’m saving money for my dream life.” It’s somehow more socially acceptable. This is a tale of how I stopped spending so much money and started saving for what matters.
Years later, I see these tiny daily choices to cut my spending as my most critical habits for success. With them, I would not be in a position to hit major financial milestones like paying off debt and investing in my business.
It All Started with a Cup of Coffee
In a way, it also ended up a cup of coffee too. Every single day I got in this habit of walking to Starbucks and buying a latte or something equality foamy and frothy.
Sure, when I had a 9-5 these $6 dollars a day wasn’t catastrophic. But having escaped my day job, and beginning my journey to entrepreneurship, every single cent mattered more than ever.
To break the habit and form a new one of savings and budgeting my pennies I started telling myself “you’re too poor for this.” It wasn’t a lie, but it helped me snap out of the just tap or just swipe mentality.
So, next time you feel the urge just tell yourself that you are poor (for now or for a long while if you’re me), your future could be richer than you ever imagined it could be (and I’m not just talking dollars in the bank).
With this poor mentality firmly in mind, I’ve saved more than I ever have before and changed my relationship with money forever, for the better.
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I know what you might be thinking, telling myself that I’m poor, even when I may not be, sounds a bit extreme.
Like, “what’s this Nadalie saying now?”
“What’s wrong with this girl?”
Or at the very least, “say whhhaatt?” (Accentuate the “wh” please.)
The Student Situation
I honestly think I first started saying this during some actual financial rough patches in my life.
Fresh out of university, all starry-eyed, ready to take on the world, but news flash, it’s a global recession. Things got really tight, really quick.
I was living pretty comfortably for four years in Halifax on student loans, education savings plan + whichever on-campus job I had at the time. Then graduating feeling so accomplished and heading off on like two-month backpacking and chilling in London trip. To realizing, shit son, I’m broke and I have zero prospects.
In hindsight, one of the goals for college students needs to be to master their finances and budget.
I spent four years and a lot of money (most of which I have to pay back, and still have to) on my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies. But hey, at least I got that bonus Honours.
Back “home” in Toronto, I’m applying for jobs and for the next almost two years I lived on my 10k line of credit. Thank God for this. I was not comfortable with being a burden to my mom or anyone else, including the system.
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It’s within these circumstances that my default setting for others became, “I’m poor, I can’t do that” or “Sorry, I’m legit broke.”
I’d rather be honest and stop spending money just to impress others when I simply can’t afford to.
I was sick of trying to keep up with the Joneses in my life. And for me, they were the people who studied career-launching majors, who had full-time jobs that were making mad money. But, I wasn’t on the same path as they were.
I’m more invested in myself than saving face.
First World Problems
Trust me, I know some people will have an issue with me saying this now.
But, as you know (or you really should) everything is relative, including my statement and I stand by it.
The power of this statement and the mental shift that it creates in my behavior is well worth whatever eyebrow raises or rebukes anyone will send my way.
Yes, I know, #firstworldproblems. And if we’re really being honest, you and I aren’t “rich” relatively to the top 1% or even the 1% of that. Another hashtag for you, #justsaying.
And in case you didn’t receive the memo or you’re not tuned in, the prize isn’t buying loads of useless shit you don’t need anyways. But maybe you’re not ready to hear that.
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Just Start Saying No
They say, saying no is one of the hardest things to do.
Somewhere between the “terrible twos” and adulthood, we stop saying NO to just about anything. We need to start saying no again and not just to stuff.
I’ve learned to say no to a lot of things (and people) and I feel no shame in it anymore.
It’s also a lot easier to say no when it’s your wallet saying no, not you.
We live with so much debt in our society because no one has any self-control. Stuff is a distraction. It’s shiny and new and it pacifies you from reality.
Trust me, it’s so much more fun being awake.
I say no, so I can say yes when it counts.
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Even though I may not have zero dollars in the bank, I keep telling myself I do, because I know there will be an opportune time in my near and far future that I’m going to need that money for. Or even more pressing, an inopportune time when I won’t be making money and I’ll need a safety net.
For everything, there is a season and even if you’re on top now, you’ll eventually find yourself down.
By saying no to a lot of things over the last 10 months, I’ve been able to say yes, to some really amazing opportunities to invest in myself and my business.
Also, you know if I say yes to something, I really want to do it because it’s important me.
Setting Spending Security Measures
Simply changing your mindset every day might not be enough for you, so putting some practical measures in place to reinforce the mentality might help you.
Check out 5 ways to not spend and save your money below.
5 Ways to Enforce the No Spend Mentality:
Move Your Savings
Moving your savings into another account that isn’t attached to your bank card or even better at another bank. Savings accounts are free too (well at least in Canada)!
Set Automatic Transfers
Setting up automatic transfers from your chequing to your savings with every debit transaction, sending $5 or $10 to your savings account with every swipe. This amount is so small you won’t even notice that you’re saving.
Use Cash and Debit Only
Use only cash and debit if you’re bad with plastic. Seriously, know your limit, swipe within it and if you have no self-control, just cut them up and use debit and cash only.
Wait 24 hours or more
Waiting at least 24 hours before making any serious purchase can halt excessive spending. Do you really need this? Think about what you’re giving up by spending now. You can also set limits on your cards at your bank.
Lock It Away
If you can’t spend it, you can’t spend it. Lock it away for few years in a GIC or a TFSA. I’m sure your bank would be happy to help you save.
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The No Spend Mentality Works
When I started trying to not spend I did use some of the measures above, but I’ve now reached the point where I just tell myself it isn’t there. When I log on to my bank account, I just don’t see it and I’m not really tempted to use it.
But it’s good to be vigilant and change it up, so my newest security measure came from switching to a paid credit card that waives the fee with a minimum balance. By doing this, I’ve now set a floor for my savings and I will not dip below, or I literally have to pay.
I’m putting this “no spend” mentality to work every day and thanks to this mental shift, I intend to say heck yes to an amazing travel opportunity next year on the dollars that I’ve banked (and will continue to bank) by saying no.
Not only that, but I was able to afford to quit my job, start and continue to invest in my blog and business. Had I not made these changes years ago, I wouldn’t be working at home doing what I love. I am able to say yes to me and my dreams.
It is too easy to say yes to things that bring immediate satisfaction, and even easier to believe that you don’t have the money to invest in yourself. But, if you take a simple and honest look at your spending, there are always ways to cut present gratification for future gains.
Get Your Simple Budget Spreadsheet
Ready to stop spending so much and start saving for your dream life? Get the Simple Budget Spreadsheet, compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Excel, and make your budget. Use it to track your monthly income and expenses.
How will you stop spending money and start saving?