Are You Spending Less This Year?

My Failed Craigslist Ads

I currently have 4 items listed on Craigslist. They are all fairly high quality items listed at very reasonable prices. To date, I have received only one email regarding the items and that was an attempt to talk me down $50 without even seeing the item in person.

At this point, I have two theories: either I’m really bad at pricing things on Craigslist and my stuff is junk, OR people, in general, aren’t spending any money right now. We all know I’m a master at Craigslist, so it can’t be because of me. 😉 It has to be what I call collective frugality. I assumed people spend less after the Holidays, but I didn’t know it was this bad.

On one hand I’m disappointed that my things haven’t sold and I don’t have my cash. On the other hand, I’m sort of enjoying the sense that people aren’t out there spending frivolously on stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I realize our economy relies on us to get out there and consume things, but it’s just nice feeling the collective frugality hit me all at once.

On that note, here are some tips for cranking it up a notch yourself and spending even less this year.

Keep in mind, I strive to spend less not just to be a cheap a$$. It’s so I can do something more valuable with that money: save it for short-term goals, retirement, or college savings.

Tips for Spending Less in the New Year

Use Those Gift Cards – First things first. If you received some gift cards over the Holidays, make definite plans to spend them now. Don’t throw them in a drawer to be forgotten. Put them in a prominent place and make plans to use them. It’s money you don’t have to spend out of your current budget.

Focus on Things You Already Have– This is a pretty standard tip but something I need to remind myself of occasionally. Remember all that stuff you bought last year, the year before that, etc.? Pull that out and use it. Whether it’s video games or movies for entertainment or exercise/sports equipment for getting in shape, make use of the stuff you already have. You may just rediscover the love you once had for your old jump rope.

Spend Only “New” Money – I recently experimented with this strategy. I gave myself a week without spending challenge. I only spent money (minus paying bills) that I’d earned from either selling something, returning something, or creating new income. I did pretty well and had some fun too. I challenge you to try it for yourself.

What other tips or tricks do you have for spending less this year?

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon. He created this website back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence. He uses Personal Capital to track his wealth. All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. @Samurai – Yeah, I need to drop the price. Had too high of expectations. 🙂

  2. Financial Samurai says

    I’m spending nada this year until i get a aise or my bonus told!

    Love your highlights on CL listings. I do the exact same thing at least once a month to get rid of stuff!

  3. Zach Younkin says

    I am actually working on sticking to my budget. Last year, I didn’t do too well sticking to my budget and am currently in a little bit of credit card debt. I’m working on paying those off as well as saving money for my future.

  4. I think I am spending the same, income has stayed the same and expenses has stayed the same so basically am on a comfortable budget right now.