“Why can’t I stop spending money?” We’ve probably all asked ourselves this question at one time or another. The answer depends on what kind of shopper you are:

  • Emotional buyers love the rush of getting their hands on something new — the hottest new technology or trendy fashions, for example.
  • Discount seekers buy things because they’re on sale, whether they need them or not.
  • Convenience cravers can’t resist pop-up ads and websites that let them buy with a quick click or two.
  • Impulse buyers buy what they want, when they want, without giving much thought to where the money is coming from.

Whether you fit into one of these categories or buy for other reasons, there’s good news: You can stop overspending. You just need a plan and the will to stick with it. Here are some ideas to help you stop spending money and build healthier financial habits:

1. Create a Budget

If you don’t have one yet, create a written budget that maps out your monthly expenses (PNC’s My Finance Academy Student Budget Calculator can help). Check your budget before making any purchase to make sure you can afford it.

2. Visualize What You’re Saving For

Could the dollars you’re spending add up to a car or special trip with friends? Set financial goals that inspire you to cut back on day-to-day spending to get what you really want from your money.

3. Always Shop with a List

Whether you’re shopping online or in person, make a list of what you need and don’t buy anything unless it’s on that list.

4. Nix the Brand Names

When you compare labels, you may be surprised at how much extra you’re paying for the name. Or, find your favorite name brand for less at a discount store or online retailer that specializes in last season’s must-haves.

5. Master Meal Prep

What’s faster — and cheaper — than delivery? Grabbing a meal straight from your fridge. Stock up on ingredients when they’re on sale and prepare a week’s worth of nutritious meals at a time.

6. Consider Cash for In-store Shopping

Seeing and feeling your money leave your hand makes you very aware of how much you’re spending. Plus, as you see the cash in your wallet dwindle, you’ll know when it’s time to stop shopping.

7. Remove Temptation

Stop being bombarded with ads luring you to make spur-of-the-moment purchases every time you check your social media feed. Minimizing your exposure is as easy as installing an ad blocker and turning off targeted ads in your browser settings.

8. Hit “Pause"

Some financial experts suggest waiting two or three days before buying whatever you’re considering (two or three weeks if it’s a larger purchase). The point is to make sure you really want to spend the money so you don’t get caught up in the moment and regret your spending later.

9. Think Reusable


If you’re buying a bottle of water or cup of coffee on the way to class each day, stop and think about what that’s costing you. Substitute an inexpensive reusable bottle or travel mug to save cash — and the planet.

10. Keep at It!

Every time you put one of these ideas into action, you’re working toward building a healthy spending habit. Take control of your spending today and you’ll reap financial rewards for years to come.