Saturday, April 11, 2009

7 unusual ways to spend less money

Research shows that people spend money because they feel powerless. If you’re struggling with debt and spending outside your budget, check out these seven ways to feel more powerful in your life…because they’re also unusual ways to spend less money!

The following ways to feel more powerful in your life will help you stick to your budget....

7 Unusual Tips for Spending Less Money

1. Acknowledge the different types of power. You can feel physically powerful, spiritually powerful, intellectually powerful, professionally powerful, economically powerful, and on it goes. You’ll probably feel different types of power in different parts of your life - and at different times of your life.

2. Recognize unhealthy versus healthy power. Being manipulative, deceitful, vengeful, or passive-aggressive are unhealthy ways of expressing power. To feel more powerful in your life, ask yourself if you’re using your power for good…or to control others. Being healthy this way does affect your spending habits - because it’s difficult to be healthy emotionally, and spend every penny you have (and those you don’t)!

3. Rise to a work challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re a store clerk, department head, or secretary of state - rising to a professional challenge increases your feelings of power. Pennsylvania-based freelance writer Lori Baer, says “Conquering a freelancing task I was nervous about fosters empowerment and greater confidence for next big thing.” Look at work challenges as ways to increase your personal sense of power…and let those confident feelings increase your resolve to spend less money.

4. Just say no. Some people - not just “people pleasers” - feel powerless to say no, for various reasons. “Saying, ‘No, I don’t want to,’ makes me feel powerful,” says writer Kathy Pfeiffer of Batavia, Ohio. “I often forget I have that choice - and sometimes it’s scary to say ‘no.’” To feel more powerful in life, give yourself permission to say no without feeling guilty, bad, or ashamed. This includes saying no to lunches or dinners you can’t afford, toys or luxuries that aren’t in the budget, and activities that are too expensive. Saying no is a great way to spend less money!

5. Play your favorite sport. “Hitting a golf ball a long, long way makes me feel powerful,” says Massachusetts-based senior public relations manager Jason Keith. I don’t know if golf games are effective ways to spend less money, but it’s a fact that playing sports you enjoy at will increase your feelings of power. You don’t even have to be good at golf to enjoy it! (And to spend less money in golf, consider a driving range or public park, but don’t hit them into the ocean a la Kramer in Seinfeld).

6. Exercise. Similarly, exercising can increase your feeling of power (for me, it’s Pilates!). “Doing weights at the gym makes me feel powerful,” says Céline Graciet, an English to French translator in Leeds, UK. “Strange, I know, as I’m still not very strong, but it gives me a confidence boost for some reason.” Taking self-defense or karate classes are also effective ways to increase your sense of physical and mental power. The more you exercise your body, the better you’ll feel…and the less need you’ll have to spend money on things you don’t need.

7. Create positive change. “The certainty that what I am doing creates positive change makes me feel powerful,” says Toronto-based writer, musician, and actor Desirée Ossandon, who is working with Canada Arts Connect. A fantastic way to feel more powerful in your life is to do something positive that improves other people’s lives. It doesn’t have to be a job; it can be a blog, volunteer work, helping a neighbor, or donating to a charity. The more involved you get in life, and other people’s lives, the more powerful you’ll feel…and the less money you’ll spend.

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