5 Tips & Tricks To Control Your Spending

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Tracking your income and expenses every month is the first step to getting your spending under control. But for those, who are having a problem sticking to their initial spending plan, here are 5 tips and tricks that will help you get your spending back on track.

Adopt a Cash – Only System

The easiest way to reduce your spending automatically is to start paying everything with cash. When you use debit cards, credit cards, m-pesa and check you typically don’t fell the significance and weight of how much is leaving your pocket.

I dare you to keep in wallet KES 50,000 and try spending it frivolously on an impulse purchase like a new dress, a pair of shoes or even a few a handbag – trust me, you won’t be able to. With a price tag of KES 18,000 on a bag for instance, does not seem like much when all you have to do is present a card or m-pesa but when you start counting the thousands up to 18! – It will make you rethink the purchase.

That is because with actual cash in your pocket, as you count those thousands and actually hand it over – it provides you more time to think more about exactly how much you are spending and for what. I can tell you with all assurance that each time I start paying for everything with cash, I spend less and less dropping my spending by 20% in a single month.

Place a KES 10,000 MAX. On Spending

The idea here is simple. Never spend more than KES 10,000 on anything without taking 48 hours to think about it. Most people purchase things on impulse and taking some time out to think about it enables you to take back the power over your spending – giving you more time to decide rationally whether the purchase is necessary.

So I suggest you set a spending ceiling –KES 10,000 is reasonable, but you can set any amount that makes sense to you. Once you have set this ceiling, do not allow yourself to purchase anything above this amount without taking some time out to think about it. If after the 48 hours you still want to buy it – go ahead. But, if not then you just saved yourself more money.

I know how important this exercise is, as each time I went out for shopping I started to realize that the things I thought I needed and must have were not really that important. For me shopping has stopped being a pass time like for most people but a way to buy things I really need.

Take Shopping Breaks

Go shopping for 90 – 120 minutes at a time and then take a short break. Have some coffee and relax. By the time your done, you will realize how exhausted you are and will put to a halt any unsystematic unplanned spending.

Confine your Shopping to once a Month

Always make a shopping plan/ budget plan every month before going shopping. Select an appropriate shopping date in a month and avoid going shopping any other time of the month to avoid temptation. Oscar Wilde famously noted that he could resist everything except temptation. In reality, most of us differ in our ability to exercise self control and the best tip I could give is simply avoid anything form of temptation that will deter your from achieving your live long goals.

Hence, it is extremely necessary to plan and stick to this list. Also not that, the more time you have to plan, the more comprehensive your list is and the more likely you are to buy only the thing you actually need.

Justify Really Expensive  & Unnecessary Purchases

I always justify really expensive and unnecessary purchases by buying things only when I seek to reward myself for something really difficult done. The point is, to use shopping as a way to reward yourself for very important tasks completed. However, this must be within the budget – do not go over budget just because you are trying to reward yourself for something. Instead just plan for it and set a side a sum which you may put into a ‘reward fund’. For instance, saving for a very expensive car, piece of jewelry or a phone.

It is important to always try to justify our spending habits each time by attaching meaning to any lavish expenses. That way we won’t regret, be in debt or feel spiritually empty like most impulse buyers. For example, If your seeking to get a promotion in your new job and to get there you must complete a certain project, task or bring in a ultra high net worth client for instance, once you achieve this you should feel free to indulge in whatever your heart pleases and reward yourself with whatever.

When we attach hard work with pleasure, we will always work hard and achieve anything. That is just the additional benefit to it but what do you really have to lose. Nothing. Ultimately we may simply end-up saving more.


Overall, making small changes to your shopping habits can help you build the infrastructure of enormous returns over a lifetime – so do not stop trying.

Happy Earning!

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.

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