How to Stop Gambling and Save Money? (10 Steps to a Better Life)
“How to Stop Gambling and Save Money?” That’s the million-dollar question often asked by those who find themselves spiraling down to the depths of gambling addiction. The funny thing is that the addiction creeps in without the gambler realizing it.
What starts off as an easy way of making some liquid money at the craps table (or online), can very quickly lead to bankruptcy, depression and in extreme cases, even suicide.
What makes gambling addiction even worse is you can’t smell it on someone’s breath. This makes it easier to hide or ignore until what first was just your beer money being on the line, turns into your life savings and missed mortgage payments.
We’ve all heard some awful gambling problem stories, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re wondering how to stop the gambling urge, then the following steps should help you get on the right track.
1. Make a Decision
It all begins with you. The first step on the road to dealing with gambling addition is admitting that, “I have a gambling problem” and that it needs to be fixed.
In the beginning, it’s common for gamblers to be in denial, which is probably one of the reasons why less than 3% of gambling addicts seek out help. While deciding to stop something you’ve enjoyed for so long can be challenging, it’s not impossible. This is also a good time to craft a financial plan that will help you save money.
2. What Type of Gambler are You
As it is with smoking or doing drugs, kicking the habit is easier said than done. Here’s where you need to ask yourself the question, “what type of gambler am I?”
There are different types of gamblers – there’s the casual social gambler, the escape gambler, the professional gambler and the compulsive gambler. If you are the first type of gambler, chances are, you’re not in a crisis because you just gamble occasionally, or during a trip to Vegas.
The escape gambler uses blackjack as an escape from the real world. The only problem is, the money you throw on “escape gambling” comes from the real world (this includes your savings or money that should be spent on important payments).
The only difference between a professional and compulsive gambler is that the former takes calculated risks by calculating odds, relying on statistics, and choosing mediums where the outcome does not solely depend on pure luck.
A professional gambler is also patient and more importantly, gambles as a means to make money. These individuals usually already have money to spare and don’t throw away their life savings.
On the other hand, the compulsive gambler is just the type of gambler that casinos (both online and off) count on. These gamblers care little about calculating odds or statistics and depend on luck or a “hunch” to win.
If you find that you’re prioritizing gambling above all other things, including your family and friends, then you have a problem.
3. Let Go of the “Win-Bias”
There’s an old wise saying, “The truth will set you free.” There’s an aphorism used by poker players, “If you can spot the sucker around the table, it’s you.”
Oftentimes, people who are struggling with how to stop gambling online get so caught up in the little wins that they forget about their many losses. The best way to deal with win bias is to write down all of your wins and losses.
This way you will know how much you have won and lost over time. It will also remind you of the fact that gambling sites and casinos are there to make a profit, and not the other way around.
In other words, while you might be looking to place a bet based on a really strong hunch, the casinos are using complex algorithms that have been programmed to a make bets work in their favor.
4. Dealing with the Urge to Gamble
Urges are an inevitable part of quitting any addiction. Deflecting those urges is the natural process towards regaining control.
If you’re wondering how to stop gambling on your own, the best way of dealing with the urge to gamble is to delay the urge. That’s because delaying the urge to gamble will allow the urge to pass.
“Urge surfing” is a technique that’s been attributed to the late psychologist, Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., who was a pioneer in the first of addictions treatment. According to Dr. Marlatt, urges for substances last for no longer than 30 minutes.
If one is able to take a step back and mindfully watch their urge play out in a distance, they will find that it soon fades and passes on, instead of developing into an inescapable craving.
5. Identify the Triggers
If you are a spouse and are wondering how to deal with a gambler husband, then the best place to start is to help him identify the triggers. In order to beat your gambling addiction, you need to identify these triggers and drag them out into the light.
Gambling is not a compulsion, but rather a coping mechanism. In other words, it’s a form of escapism. Whenever a person, who has been exposed to gambling in the past, feels bored, frustrated, disappointed or stressed out, he or she will turn to gambling.
You can also search online to find out more about these triggers so that they can be avoided. A good way of saving money is to hand over your money to your spouse, so you don’t spend money by giving into the triggers you identify.
6. Unsubscribe to Gambling Sites
One of the easiest ways to stop gambling addiction is to try to avoid the things that remind you of gambling.
From convenient stores selling lottery tickets to your email inbox being bombarded with online gambling ads, the urge to gamble is everywhere. All of these sources can be a powerful temptation to gamble.
Rather than allow environmental factors to weaken your resolve, do something about it. Avoid the stores that sell lottery tickets and unsubscribe to the newsletters and other marketing content you receive from gambling sites. Gambling websites charge for a monthly or yearly subscription, which means you can save money by unsubscribing to their service.
7. Don’t Wait till You Break Even
Many who find themselves addicted to gambling often think of breaking even so that they can make up for their losses before they quit. That’s a bad idea, especially if you have already lost a lot of money.
Continuing to gamble whether it’s on an online gambling site or at a casino can lead to you losing even more money, making it likely that this cycle is going to continue.
If you really want to know how to stop gambling forever, then don’t wait for tomorrow, or Monday, stop gambling right now.
8. Change Your Environment
So, you avoid the stores that sell lottery tickets and have changed your route from work every day (you know, the one where you need to pass the casino on your way home). It doesn’t end there.
You will need to take a long hard look at the environment in which you live in. For example, if your friends gamble, you are going to need to make some new friends.
It’s not uncommon for past gambling addicts to replace just because they accompanied their friends to the casino or watched them playing on an online casino.
If you’ve known your friends for a long time and don’t want to hurt any feelings, come clean with your problem and why they should try to avoid the topic of gambling when you’re around.
9. Turn to Technology
Turns out, the same technology that played a part in getting you into gambling addiction can be used to get you out of it. Use software that blocks access to online gambling websites if you feel yourself logging into those websites on impulse.
You can also try to use a stop gambling app for your phone since you are more likely to get the urge to gamble coming across gambling ads while browsing through social media posts.
10. Search for a Replacement
For many folks, gambling starts off as a hobby before turning into an addiction. This happens simply because some people have an addictive personality. These are the people who have a hard time keeping any hobby from turning into an addiction.
That said, being addicted to fishing or building a model train set is very different to gambling addiction. To help your mind deviate from thoughts of gambling, do other things that you like, such as, a hobby or spending time with family and friends.
The trick is to keep the mind busy so it doesn’t end up wondering to online betting sites. If you’ve been asking the question, “how can I stop gambling on my own?” Well, this is going to be your best bet.
At the end of the day, how to stop gambling on slot machines or at the casino all boils down to the decisions made by you.
Considering the negative impact that gambling can have on a person (both financially and psychologically) should be all the motivation you need to use these quit-gambling help tips and hit the jackpot of a better life.