The Easiest Way to Spend Less Money


Why It’s So Easy to Overspend

We are all tempted by instant gratification to some extent. And thanks to poorly implemented public policies it’s now easier than ever to live beyond our means. When we run out of savings, we can simply use credit to continue buying what we want. At least that’s what I usually do. 😉

Once upon a time people had to work almost constantly to prepare, track, hunt, build, forage, and gather resources so they would have enough food to survive the winter. But now the average American only works 34 hours per week, according to the OECD. That’s 20% of their available time. In other words, people spend 134 hours each week sleeping, eating, and doing leisurely activities that don’t involve getting paid for labour. That’s a lot of time to kill.

We have so much free time on our hands we often have trouble deciding what to do with it. Businesses use this opportunity to target our wallets, which leads us to buy things we don’t really need.

The Advantage of Distraction

In order to prevent impulse purchases we simply need to distract ourselves and do something else with our time and attention. 🙂 The best way to do this is to find free or cheap hobbies that can take up a lot of time. For example, if we are already preoccupied with reading the latest Harry Potter book, then we are less likely to think about shopping. To put it another way, we spend money when we’re bored or have nothing better to do. This is why many workaholics tend to be frugal. They’re so busy with work, they literally don’t have the time to enjoy all the money they’re making, lol.

I recently came across this Reddit thread about affordable hobbies that anyone can do. I will share the top activities mentioned in the thread and add some of my own ideas. We sometimes overspend because we don’t have the willpower to walk away from something we want. But hobbies such as the ones below can distract us so we won’t even get the chance to think about shopping in the first place, and therefore, save money. 🙂

Free or Cheap Hobbies For Anyone

  • Visit the library – You’re probably already paying for it with your taxes. Might as well enjoy the service. 🙂 has free e-books.
  • Learn a new language – Duolingo, Memrise, Hellotalk are some free options out there.
  • Body weight exercises – Calisthenics can be challenging but fun. Yoga and pilates are popular as well.
  • Hike or Bushwalk – This one might depend on where you live.
  • Learn to dance – I’m currently taking contemporary dance lessons at a community center. Each drop in class is 90 minutes long and only costs $3.60. It’s good exercise too. 😀
  • Draw – All you need is a pen/pencil and paper. YouTube tutorials are abundant and free.
  • Video Games – Download Steam and play awesome PC games for free. Warning: MOBA and MMO games can be dangerously addicting.
  • Read – Newspapers, comics, novels, anything. I particularly like books about anti-gravity. They’re really hard to put down. 😆
  • Write – Let your imagination run free. Start a blog, tell a story, join and share your ideas with other people.
  • Learn anything – The Khan Academy, edX, Udacity, and Coursera, all offer free courses on just about everything under the sun.13_06_quote_jake_sucking
  • Tabletop games – Card games and boardgames are tons of fun. You can do a lot even with a pack of ordinary playing cards.
  • Geocaching – It’s like scavenger hunting. You do need a cell phone with GPS, but most people reading this should have one. It’s not for me, but hey, whatever melts your butter.
  • Meditate – “Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had.” ~ Ray Dalio, famous investor with a net worth of $16 billion.
  • Flying kites – You can even learn to make your own kite.

What other inexpensive hobbies can you think of? If I didn’t have any cheap activities to keep me entertained then I’d probably buy an iPhone 7 out of boredom, haha. I find that having lots of frugal hobbies is the best way to save money. 🙂 Hobbies keep us engaged in our surroundings so we don’t feel bored. And at the same time they distract us from all the advertisements in the world so we won’t be tempted to spend money on frivolous things. 🙂

Random Useless Fact:

Pandas generally eat somewhere between 20 and 40 pounds of bamboo each day.


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10/06/2016 12:58 pm

Make youtube videos.. Can be fun and potentially rewarding.. Race to the most thumbs down anyone?

Taking over my portfolio
Taking over my portfolio
10/07/2016 6:37 am

My son spends hours watching some other guy play videogames on youtube. Apparently this guy makes millions a year playing videogames and allowing others to sit there and ‘watch’ him play.

10/08/2016 9:24 am

“But now the average American only works 34 hours per week, according to the OECD.” No use using “the average”, it’s a useless metric. In America, 86% of men and 67% of women work more than 40 hours a week — or at least 18% more hours than “the average”. Only the bottom quintile works less than 30. With that said, the lowest quintile spends ~40% of their time in leisure vs ~30% with the other income levels. Again, this blog puts up single-source cursory observations with no depth or substance, trying to appease a biased target audience instead of providing a comprehensive and factual analysis. “When we run out of savings, we can simply use credit to continue buying what we want. At least that’s what I usually do…[link] I purchased the Canada’s Arctic Landscape 2013 Fine Silver coin…I didn’t have any savings, so I borrowed the money from my line of credit.” The worst. It’s been 3.5 years and not only has that coin NOT gone up in value, or perceived rarity*, but you’ve also been paying interest on the $2,250. A complete money losing deal. Personally, I wouldn’t touch any over-hyped and over-priced RCM product. *”Only 750… Read more »

10/09/2016 7:06 am

Minorities also work more hours than their Caucasian counterparts.

Paul N
Paul N
10/11/2016 12:48 pm

Even if you work only 34 hours, its misleading to automatically tally up the remaining hours. Many people commute an hour or more each way to work. You spend at least an hour preparing for work in the morning. Your lunch hour is usually spent at work and not really on yourself. Plus some people are forever on training courses or improving themselves for work. So work focus could be a lot more than is stated here. Several more hours per day…

xyz from Our Financial Path
10/19/2016 8:11 am

I like writing so I started a blog. It’s a great pastime and it only costs me 2$/month in hosting 😛