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  • Writer's pictureLeah Golob

'No buy' challenges can help bring spending under control.

Written by:

Leah Golob


January 4, 2022

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Read an excerpt below.

Similar to "no buy" or "low buy" challenges, Cindy Marques, certified financial planner and co-founder of MakeCents in Toronto, runs a "low spend" challenge with her clients.
"We often get caught up in mindless spending and overspending can very quickly spiral out of control. Even clients who I work with that have a very detailed cash flow plan tend to fall off when they lose inspiration or focus. Reframing the practice of conscious spending under the guise of a `challenge' is a good way to incentivize individuals to practice these mindful behaviours," Marques said.
She finds it can be a good opportunity for people to start questioning: What are my spending weaknesses? When do I tend to go off the rails? Why do I overspend?
One trick she recommends to help cut spending is to limit credit card usage. The first step is to delete any saved credit card information from browsers and online shopping accounts.
"We are all pretty inherently lazy and making it too easy to impulse shop online is a disaster waiting to happen," she said.
The same rules apply when shopping in person since credit cards make it easy to tap and go without remorse, Marques said.
"Using cash or debit makes the pain of spending more real. We see the dollars disappear from our hands as cash or from our actual bank account balance through debit," she added.
"An increasing credit card balance doesn't feel as bad as a decreasing bank or cash balance. We are all programmed towards loss aversion and a growing credit card balance doesn't actually feel like a loss."
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