If you’ve ever looked at your credit card statement and wondered where in the world all your money went, you’re not alone. You might think that your daily coffee run or weekly dinner out isn’t hurting you financially, but small purchases can add up quickly. The average American spends $142.87 over budget each week, totaling to spending $7,429.24 over their yearly budget.
It’s certainly not easy to curb overspending, but the sobering reality is that most people overspend and under save. 47% of Americans have no money put away for retirement, and 53% could only cover expenses for 3 months or less if they suddenly lost their income. Keeping those staggering statistics in mind, there are much better places for your money than the cafe by your house—like a savings account.
The first step to take toward spending less is to understand exactly what it is that you’re spending money on. Many banking or budgeting apps will do a monthly budget breakdown, while the average person spends most of their money on the same three major expenditures: housing, transportation, and food. Once you understand where your excess money is going, you can begin taking steps to maximize your spending on the important things—like housing—and minimize your spending on the less important things—like going to the movies four times a month.
Just like you can train your body to be faster or stronger, you can train your brain to prefer spending less money. Think of it as a mental gym: it takes effort and discipline, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. Try these 8 mind games to trick yourself into spending less if you’re saving up for a big purchase, if you need to get out of debt, or if you just want to exercise better financial habits.