What are your spending triggers?

 What are your spending triggers


Most budgeting advice is something along the lines of ‘stop buying coffee’ and ‘take your lunch to work’.  While it’s always good to cut back on spending and instead redirect that money elsewhere, it doesn’t really solve the problem of why you spend that money.  Without getting to the bottom of the why, it’s likely that you will pretty quickly fall back into old spending habits.  So what are your spending triggers?   To find out, you need to first be aware of your thoughts before you spend.


What are your spending weaknesses?


Before you determine your spending triggers, you need to know what your actual spending weaknesses are, or in other words the things you know you are spending too much money on.  I have two main spending weaknesses that I know I need to work on, which are buying ‘bargains’ at stores like Kmart (no thanks to their amazing home wares range), as well at eating out on weekends.  These are likely to be things that you know you shouldn’t be spending quite so much on, but find it hard to change, often for lifestyle or emotional reasons.


What are your triggers?

Now it’s time to start paying attention to your triggers?  For example, if you are like us and eat out a lot on weekends, try figure out why you eat out?  Is it the convenience, social aspect, tiredness, boredom etc?  Have a think about the events and thought that occur before you make the decision to eat out.  Usually, our we don’t eat out because it’s something we plan, but because we are always out and about on weekends, and so feel as though we have no choice but to buy our lunch.  If it’s not lunch we are buying, it might otherwise be dinner, purely because we have been out all day and only get home around dinner time, by which time it feels too late to organise anything, or we just can’t be bothered.  So we are not eating out because we want to eat out, but more just because we need to eat something.


Find alternatives

Now that you know what your spending triggers are, you can make an effort to plug them.  For example, we try to plan ahead now to avoid buying take away.  We will make our lunch and head to a park, plus make sure the freezer is full of meals ready to go for those nights that we run out of time to cook dinner from scratch.


I have also just stopped visiting stores like Kmart unless I really need something.  It’s too easy to head to the shops for a ‘browse’, and then spend money on things you didn’t realise you even needed before setting foot in the shop.  The best way to cut spending in this situation is to avoid putting yourself in situations where you know you will spend money.  Once you know your triggers and understand why you spend, it easy to watch out for them and find alternatives.




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