Learning How To Practice Spending Willpower

Oct 21, 2020

Shalayne Smith Needham- No matter what your income is, it is easy to face spending issues. Amanda Christensen, editor of the Utah Money Mom's blog and associate professor at Utah State University shares real-life Smart Money tips to help you keep up with your spending goals and budgets.

And first, tell us what is spending willpower.

Amanda Christensen- Spending willpower is being intentional about spending decisions rather than remaining on autopilot or avoiding the consequences of our money interactions. We commonly think of it as needing the willpower to avoid overspending. Sometimes we look at money and not think that we can control things. On the other end of the spectrum is spending willpower could mean giving yourself some intentional consistency with spending money or freedom to spend without guilt.

SSN- And what are some tips for someone who could use more willpower to spend less?

AC- Well, I would recommend thinking about it a little more intentionally. And questions that can help you do just that include, "will this purchase meet one of my goals?" Another question might be, "can I afford it?" And all people are really saying when they're saying can I afford it is can I prioritize this purchase over other things? Another question? "Would I come back tomorrow to buy this?" So this is the self-discipline versus instant gratification issue? And finally, "could I feel better now without spending money, am I using money to try to feel better on a consistent basis?" And if so, there maybe are some other underlying issues there that are affecting and even triggering your money spending decision.

SSN- How about advice for those who could use more willpower to spend more money.

AC- Someone who's a saver, may use the money to feel secure, which is a higher priority than the freedom to spend. There's a greater satisfaction to have money stashed away, we want to avoid the spending freeze that then leads to blowing a lot of money all at once and totally busting our budget or, you know, avoid building that built-up resentment that can happen when a spouse or a partner is the spender.

So, a couple of tips for those folks set a personal allowance and allow yourself the freedom to spend a little bit of money every month on whatever you want. And as long as you set that limit, and you don't go over it. That's actually a really great thing. For someone who's in that saver scenario. The last tip to comparison shop your purchases, that's going to help you be intentional, it requires thought.

SSN- And finally, where can we go to find helpful financial resources

AC- Utahmoneymoms.com is a great place to go finance.usu.edu and if you're looking for a personal finance refresher, the Power Pay Money Mastery online course is what I would recommend for folks that want a little bit more of a deeper dive.