What If You Just Don’t?

I’ve caught myself getting into a nasty habit lately – spitting.

For some reason, any time I’m near water of any kind (sink, bath, shower) my body automatically wants to unload the saliva in my mouth as if I’m in a spitting competition with the world’s feistiest llama.

llama spitting competition

It’s been going on for a few years now, but yesterday for whatever reason I decided I finally wanted it to stop and had a weird thing happen the second I had the next urge:

I literally told myself – out loud – to just “don’t do it” as if that would magically do the trick. And it worked! It just came out of my mouth without thinking and I haven’t slung spit since!

Of course, 24 hours is way too early to tell if I’m cured or not (and more than likely, it’s only working because the physical act of saying the words out loud prevents me from spitting in the first place – hah), but it reminded me a lot of shopping and how it’s actually pretty easy to just stop that too and start saving if you really wanted to.

As my friend Derek Olsen likes to say (who recently stopped blogging – dang you!), it’s pretty simple figuring out how to save money: just get rid of the “how to” :)

how to save money funny

Silly, yes, but effective. In order to save money all you have to do is not go out of your way to spend it! A lazy person’s wet dream! In fact, “going out of your way” might even be an understatement.

Here’s a list of what’s actually involved any time you pick up something from a store:

  • first, you need to go out and earn enough money to buy the thing (factoring in 30%+ on top of the purchase price since your paycheck is after-tax)
  • then, you need to research the thing and find out where the best deal and quality is
  • then you need to drive to the place to pick up this best deal/quality thing
  • then you need to find the thing in the store
  • then you have to wait in line to purchase the thing
  • then you need to drive all the way back home to unwrap the thing
  • and then, finally, you get to enjoy the thing!

For 5 minutes…

  • then you have to maintain the thing
  • and then forget about the thing as it transforms to clutter
  • then get annoyed by the thing as it turns to emotional clutter
  • and then, eventually, sell/donate/trash/box up the thing where it’s finally gone from your life forever!

Until you pick up the next thing.

Or, you could have just not bought the thing in the first place and saved the hassle & money :)

A simplified breakdown, yes, but something to think about if you’re serious about stacking cash.

What if you just stopped shopping? What would change? How would you feel? What would your bank account look like?

If it’s too much to ponder for the long term, try it out for a day. For the next 24 hours don’t buy a single thing and see what happens. If you succeed, try it out for another day and keep going until it stings!

This money stuff really isn’t that complicated. Sometimes the answer is literally just doing nothing.

(TBD on the spitting though)

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  1. The Dad Wallet September 25, 2017 at 5:50 AM

    Agreed it can be that easy for a lot of the things we do in life. I fully believe that we have become these people who have forgotten what delayed gratification is.

    So maybe if we just learned that everything (saving money, buying clothes, selling things for cheap) takes a process. We might be able to save more as well.

    When we want instant gratification it leads to us buying things that solve a problem for the moment and potentially not something that could solve or help in multiple situations.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 10:52 AM

      “I fully believe that we have become these people who have forgotten what delayed gratification is.” – For sure… especially with how *easy* it is to find or buy something with all the new technology!

  2. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle September 25, 2017 at 6:35 AM

    I am not a huge shopper in general anyways. If I do shop, it’s usually second hand or sales racks.

    That said, we tend to have the delay the purchase method, and after a few months of not actually needing to buy it, we take it off our list. If we can go with out it, we don’t need it.

    Is there a better alternative? Get that instead.

    Can you borrow one for your need? Do that.

    Only then do we really discuss the need to purchase something. That’s how we either shop less or alot of times, not at all.

  3. Mustard Seed Money September 25, 2017 at 6:50 AM

    I love the list. I know that I have to fight myself constantly not to go on Amazon or some of my other favorite retailers online because it’s so easy. With my credit card information stored on Google and Amazon it makes it too easy at times to buy something without even feeling it.

    first, you need to go out and earn enough money to buy the thing (factoring in 30%+ on top of the purchase price since your paycheck is after-tax)
    -With a credit card you can tell yourself you can pay it back
    then, you need to research the thing and find out where the best deal and quality is
    -it’s super easy to look at a quick review on Amazon and tell yourself it’s good
    then you need to drive to the place to pick up this best deal/quality thing
    -so nice, no driving
    then you need to find the thing in the store
    -right there on amazon
    then you have to wait in line to purchase the thing
    -one click purchasing
    then you need to drive all the way back home to unwrap the thing
    -so easy having UPS drop it off on your doorstep
    and then, finally, you get to enjoy the thing!
    -it comes in a box with a smiley face and you get to unwrap it like its Christmas

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 10:54 AM

      Haha… no fair substituting Amazon in ;)

  4. Amy @ Life Zemplified September 25, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Oh, I hope this sticks for the spitting!!

    This definitely worked for me with shopping and with eliminating junk food, sugar, coffee, etc. My bank account and my health are so much better as a result.

  5. MK September 25, 2017 at 7:39 AM

    My thoughts exactly!! Just this weekend, I gave myself a stern talking-to about how I’ve been spending lately……and I wasn’t happy with getting scolded by myself!! Starting now, I’m in “mindful spending mode” and already my decision has made me feel better.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:13 AM

      Haha… Love it :)

  6. Austin Krause September 25, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    yes! Shopping in store does help. Several times we have gone to a store and said forget it because the line was too long.

  7. Leo T. Ly September 25, 2017 at 8:06 AM

    I shop at Costco and every time I left that place, I did at least a hundred or so in damage to my wallet every time. I love buying bulk and it saves me money, but my bill could easy balloon pretty quickly after grabbing a few items.

    To cut down on my bills, I asked myself one question, “do I want or need a this item?” I put most of the want item back. Hopefully, this can be sustained for the long term.

  8. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance September 25, 2017 at 8:09 AM

    Sometimes I catch myself getting into a bad habit too. There was a time when I washed my hands every time I touched something except my laptop. It gave me the illusion that my hands were clean enough to use my computer.

    However, the soap rally fried out my skin. At one point, I had to fight that compulsion. I’m so glad it worked!

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:14 AM

      Ugh, that’s a hard one… I wash my hands a lot more than I probably should too ever since having kids :( So afraid of getting sick cuz it’s THE WORST watching them when you are!

  9. FullTimeFinance September 25, 2017 at 8:15 AM

    It really is simple when you step back. The hard part is to stick to it once you start. Hopefully presenting it in such a basic manner will inspire someone to get started.

  10. Mr. Freaky Frugal September 25, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    I don’t really spit, except when I brush my teeth. :)

    That’s an awesome outline about how spending goes! For any major purchase, I add a cooling off period at the beginning. If I think I really want something and it makes total sense to purchase, I wait a couple of weeks and see if I still feel the same about it. If I do, then I consider an actual purchase. If not, then I just saved a bunch of money!

  11. Dave September 25, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    i get it. Don’t spend too much energy in the preparation. Just stop spending. There is no need to complicate a simple solution. I think we fail when we get in our heads and over analyze things.

  12. Ms99to1percent September 25, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    I hate shopping so I think instead of the 24 hrs, I can do at least 2 weeks of not shopping especially after reading that looong exhausting list of things we have to do before we make a purchase

  13. Mrs. Picky Pincher September 25, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    Bahahaha! I think we all have our weird little quirks and habits. I used to knock on wood ANY time I was worried about anything. That became inconvenient when I wasn’t around wood and I would freak out. Pretty sure that was OCD; had to work with my therapist to get over that. Jinkies.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:18 AM

      Haha…. I have OCD too, like with putting things down or re-reading stuff 3x before I can move on… i’ve gotten used to it over the years, but prob smarter to actually try and fix it :( My brother used to have it super bad but a therapist has helped him immensely.

  14. ZJ Thorne September 25, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    There’s a similar rule for not being a jerk. Just say nothing. If something does not impact you, you don’t need to be concerned about it (unless it is hurting a group with less protection than you.) Remembering that I don’t need to have an opinion about everything helps me to be less judgmental and also happier.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:19 AM


      Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

  15. Cubert September 25, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    I can’t wait to get to a point in my blog when I can choose topics like THIS. A sure sign I’ve made it to the big time. Ha!
    Great reminder on the true nature of “shopping”. Just in time for gift season madness.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:22 AM

      Haha… what do you mean when you “get to a point” in your blog? You can say whatever you want anytime you want! That’s the beauty of blogging! :)

      1. Cubert September 25, 2017 at 3:11 PM

        You know I’m just giving you crap, Boss. Thanks to you, I’m now inspired to post about stealth nose-picking and occupational-hazard style cubicle farting. ;-)

  16. Lisa O September 25, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    I shop maybe once a month. I shop when I need something not just to go and spend time out of the house. Just missed a day shopping with a friend for 7 hours she purchased a pair of pants on the clearance rack for 2.50 then got an additional 20% off. She was so happy to tell me about her big buy! My thought was what a waste of 7 hours….I finished a book, sat by the lake and took in some sunshine. I use to shop on Saturday for fun with people….I just don’t find it as fun…

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:22 AM

      7 hours???!!

  17. Lily @ The Frugal Gene September 25, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Lol I should send that picture with How To (crossed out) Save Money to my friend. She said she didn’t know how to save money and I didn’t know what to say…”maybe don’t spend it??!” It sort of only goes 2 ways…

    Spitting is the grossest thing but that’s only because I’ve associated with bums on the bus or bums hanging out in parking lots. They always spit for no reason…is it just a street manners thing?

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:23 AM

      I cant say on the spitting, but I DO hope you pass that note over to your friend!! But do it in person so you can see her reaction :)

  18. Dads Dollars Debts September 25, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    I try this most days…I was on a trip this weekend with the family and we bought no souvenirs. It was likely the first time ever in or lives that this has happened…we did buy lots of food and wine though so it was not a low spend weekend…just not a spend on useless junk weekend.

    I am doing the same with booze and eating red meat this month. My default is a glass of wine or beer when I get home at night and a burger if I eat out. I am going to try and break these habits to live a healthier long term life.

    Just do it…right?

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:27 AM

      Right :)

      I hear you on the souvenirs too. I used to HOARD THEM growing up but not anymore… The only time I bring stuff back on travels is if I hit a thrift store or coin store and I’d have bought the item in my hometown anyways :) Only now I get the item AND the memories attached to the place, which is actually pretty cool.

  19. EL September 25, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    That’s a good mantra to live by to control spending. Eventually you do have to fork over money, so be sure its something that brings you happiness. Good one J.

  20. Joe September 25, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    That’s the affirmation thing. If it works for you, then stick with it. Doesn’t matter why it works, right?
    We just came back from Hawaii with minimal souvenirs. Junior got a stuffed turtle and we got some snacks, that’s it. I think we did pretty well with not shopping in Waikiki. :)

  21. One Percent Decisions September 25, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Changing behavior is hard. But I love the thought of just remove “how to” from the equation and there is the answer.

    I always just ask myself before making a purchase if what I’m wanting to buy is a need or a want? Just the sheer asking of the question generally means its a want and therefore unnecessary. But every time I go through that, I transfer whatever the cost of the item is from my checking account to my savings account. Because if I had bought it, I would have never noticed anyway, so I might as well turn a potentially bad decision into an even better decision.

  22. Mrs. BITA September 25, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    You should visit my home country of India before you completely shake your spitting habit, you’ll feel right at home. You might even be motivated to take up chewing ‘pan’ so that you can generate nice red coloured streams of spit. Ugh.

    I just stopped shopping one day (and wrote about it for your site too!). I found that it was easy as pie to stop once I had replaced my shopping habit with something else (I started investing, reading financial blogs, and writing my own). Shopping was something I was doing when I had nothing else to do with myself, so in order to shut that down, I had to give myself a viable substitute.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:29 AM

      YUP! If you shop for entertainment/boredom then swapping it in for something equally – or even more fun! – will certainly do the trick. That’s pretty much how I kicked the habit myself back in the day – blogging started taking over my life and kept me busy :)

  23. Miss Mazuma September 25, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    I am glad you are fixing this before FInCon. Seriously, I don’t want to be worried about having you spit in my drink because things have escalated out of control by that time. The part of this equation that I don’t understand is WHY did you start spitting in the first case? Same as when people start to spend out of control, it is usually the WHY that drives them. Was it something terrible you ate? An urge to go toe to toe with said llama? What was it???

    PS – Nice write up on Smart Asset!! I’d recognize that ass…et anywhere! (It took me seconds to come up with that and I am quite proud!).

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:31 AM

      Hahaha… I see what you did there ;)

      Spitting – no idea?? I used to do it as a teen but eventually kicked it, but now anytime I go near a sink for some reason i just want to spit in it for no reason. Probably have some wires crossed weirdly in my brain?

      So basically, you’re okay at FinCon so long as we don’t go near water :)

  24. PaulM September 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    This takes me back to my youth when we had spitting contests.. really felt proud when I won one of those. But luckily I gave up the habit long ago. Reminds of that movie where Clint Eastwood spits on his dog and never missed. I hope you don’t have a dog!

    Before I buy something these days, I ask myself where I’ll put since I don’t have that much room. More often than not I end up putting it back on the shelf (or more likely removing it from my cart) It works really well except for food which doesn’t stay around too long anyway. Better than eating out all the time though.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:32 AM

      Good idea w/ the shelf tip – I like that.

  25. Mr. Tako September 25, 2017 at 11:28 AM

    So true! Not spending money can be as simple as being lazy!

    Of course there’s so many ‘lazy’ paths through life that end up costing a bunch of money too… so it isn’t always that simple. The ‘lazy’ way to get dinner tonight is to eat out, OR you could make that same dinner yourself at home for much less.

    Sometimes saving money takes actual hard work.

    1. J. Money September 25, 2017 at 11:32 AM

      True true… for this post though, let’s just forget about the other routes ;)

  26. Done by Forty September 25, 2017 at 11:55 AM

    That’s really the key to frugality, isn’t it? It’s saying no to some purchases. Not all, of course…but if we don’t learn to simply say no to at least some of the tempting stuff that comes our way, we can’t ever really get ahead.

    Same with diet: At some point, we have to just not eat the extra serving, cookie, whatever.

    Or drinking. Or drugs.

    Personally, I always have a problem with things of excess. Easy to plan, of course: just don’t do the thing. But easier said than done. :/

    1. J. Money September 26, 2017 at 4:07 PM

      Oh yeah, the “all in” or nothing approach! I used to have to do that with drinking in college haha.. it was either party time or no time :)

  27. RJ September 25, 2017 at 12:53 PM

    Great post especially about all the steps to buying something. Being frugal, I always do way too much research and shopping around before buying something. I love applying the 30 or 60 day rule. If I’m thinking of buying something, I have to wait at least 30 days and if I still really want it then, I’ll get it.

  28. Owen @ PlanEasy September 25, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Great idea! Simple but it really works. Not spending money gets even easier when you stop doing a few other things too…

    1. Don’t watch commercials (Neflix for the win!). Recently we were watching satellite at my parents and were amazed at the bombardment of advertisements. They really work too. It was small, but having not been exposed to commercials for a while we felt the urge these ads created.

    2. Don’t read ads. Get an ad blocker. Avoid ad laden magazines.

    3. Avoid “shopping” areas. Walking the mall just for fun always leads to some sort of impulse purchase. Just avoid shopping areas all together unless you specifically NEED something.

  29. derek September 25, 2017 at 6:57 PM


    get it?

    1. J. Money September 26, 2017 at 4:07 PM

      There he is!!

  30. MyMoneyDesign September 25, 2017 at 7:27 PM

    I totally did this over the weekend. I walked into a store and started to put things in my hands that I would normally buy because they were a good deal. But then I just said: What am I doing? Do I even need these things? Do I think I should buy them only because they are a good price?

    I ended up buying nothing. And regret nothing!

  31. Chris @ Keep Thrifty September 25, 2017 at 9:27 PM

    I’ve never thought about how much work we have to do to acquire something. And all I have to do to avoid that is take advantage of my natural desire to be lazy? Awesome :)

    1. J. Money September 26, 2017 at 4:09 PM

      I will take one beer as payment, please!

  32. Laurie@ThreeYear September 26, 2017 at 8:14 AM

    Reminds me of the advice I heard if you want to quit drinking, “just don’t. If you find yourself with a drink in hand, pour it out.” If you find yourself with a purchase in hand, drop it on the floor?

    1. J. Money September 26, 2017 at 4:10 PM

      Haha… sure, that works :)

  33. Elsie September 26, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    My friends come to me asking how I save so much money. I always remind them it’s easy because it just requires a plan. Everyone thinks there’s some magical advice they have to pay for. Nope, just start doing it. You get better and learn things over time. Build the plane while you fly it.

  34. BuddyF September 26, 2017 at 11:00 PM

    I sat back most months before I started budgeting and saving wondering how I spent so much money and what did I even spend it on. Then it came to me. My email inbox was filled every day and even sometimes hourly by sites wanting to either offer me a discount or show me the best new thing or even worse convince me that a crowdfunding idea was worth paying the money for and then in one case still never getting anything but a promise they are still working on it over a year later. The advertising emails I guess you could say were working as they wanted but really taking a drain on my cash flow.

    So what did I do?? I simply unsubscribed from all the noise and distraction of the advertising emails and found that my temptations went down to almost zero. I did exactly what J Money talked about which was just stop doing it, and getting rid of the temptation. It was the best thing ever, actually life changing. Now I prioritize my money and put them towards real goals and not the latest flashy item coming across my inbox.

    One funny thing though is that I think how I got through the withdraw symptoms of online shopping and coming home each day to a package in the mailbox was start to read sites like Budgets are Sexy and a few others. Seems like a much better use of my time and money. Thanks J. Money!

    1. J. Money September 27, 2017 at 6:40 AM

      I like the sound of that!

      A *productive* distraction is always better than an unproductive one :)

      I did the same thing with the shopping emails too back in the day… And then eventually stopped reading/consuming/signing up to anything relating to the *news* as well – it’s always so depressing and full of noise!

  35. Oliver @ Appreneurinvestor.com October 11, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    Avoid impulsive shopping as it can turn into an addiction. Buy only what you REALLY need, then see miracles happen in your bank accounts.

  36. Femme Cents October 18, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    I think this is a good reminder that there are a lot of things that could be simple if we just got out of our own way. It’s a reason I’m a big fan of automating bill payments and monthly savings.

    1. J. Money October 23, 2017 at 1:05 PM

      yup – very smart!

  37. freddy smidlap October 31, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    one thing i’ve noticed over the years about myself is the development of a type of physical repulsion to the mass marketing and advertising for crap i don’t want. the 2 best examples are bottled water and a cell phone. for one, as a homeowner, i already “buy” clean delicious potable water every quarter. and as a never-had-a-cellphone person, it amuses and angers me a little to see a bombardment of ads where somebody is trying to get my approximately one hundred hard earned bucks a month for data so i can bury my face in one of these anti-social devices? you’re right, $, what if i just don’t?

    1. J. Money November 1, 2017 at 1:31 PM

      Woww never owned one before – that’s pretty impressive! I’m not sure I can give mine up, but I wouldn’t mind a more dumbed-down one since I only use 10% of its features… Fortunately at only $30/mo though I can deal :) (If you ever do pick one up, check out Republic Wireless)