Overspending is a big challenge for many of us. Our eyes get a little big for our wallets, and we give in to impulse. It’s actually like overeating. It’s the result of short-term thinking without giving the consequences full consideration before making the decision to do it. And if you think about it, spending money is kinda like a drug…a quick way to feel better.
I know firsthand how challenging getting in control of your overspending can be, so I’ve rounded up 8 ways to help you keep your unnecessary spending in check:
1. Spend According to Your Budget
You do have a budget right? Right?! Make a budget and set a limit for the amount of money you can spend. If you get the urge to purchase something, whip out your budget and make a responsible decision based on the what your budget is telling you.
2. Remember Short-Term Pleasure Leads to Long-Term Pain
If it’s pleasurable in the short-term, you’re going to suffer in the long-term. The opposite is also true. Working out every day isn’t always fun fun in the moment, but the rewards are great and can be long lasting. A $300 Ivy Park outfit might be satisfying today, but what about three months from now when it’s too hot to wear it?
3. Give Yourself Space Before Making a Decision
Like other habits, overspending lacks thought. It’s automatic. You’ve learned to receive pleasure by giving in to the impulse to spend. Stop for a moment, breathe and disengage your mind from the path that it’s on. Try spending 30 minutes doing something else and see if you still want to buy it.
4. Consider What Your Overspending is Actually Costing You
Too much debt can make it impossible to get a mortgage or a car loan. You might not get to take that vacation and if you do, coming back to a mountain of debt will quickly wipe away all the relaxing vacation feels. There may even come a time where you can’t purchase the things you need to live. Not to mention, you might also get stuck working well beyond the age you desire because you spent the money on unnecessary things.
5. Avoid Opportunities to Overspend
When are you most likely to overspend? Is it while visiting your favorite store or website? Just stay away. Avoid the temptation altogether. Make a list of your favorite places to spend money and remind yourself of the consequences.
6. Note How You Feel Before and After You Purchase
Do you spend when you’re not having a good day? What emotions trigger the urge to buy something? How do you feel afterwards? Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you need the item or if you’re just making yourself feel better. If you’re just making yourself feel better, don’t buy it, and if you can, find another…more beneficial way to feel better.
7. Feel and Express Gratitude
Ask yourself what you’re grateful for before overspending. Studies have shown that feelings of gratitude increase willpower leading to reduced spending. Gratitude can increase resistance to instant gratification because you end up feeling content with the things you already have. Give it a try. Also keep in mind that stress and anxiety lower willpower, significantly.
8. Track Every Penny You Spend
When all else fails, review how much you’ve spent. Keep a running total and sure to include everything, no matter how small. You’ve spent a fortune on small items over your lifetime. Track it all and see how you feel once you’ve totaled it up.
Avoid spending money on things you don’t need. Overspending is a dangerous financial habit. Replacing your savings always takes longer than you think it will. Relying on debt is even worse. If you currently overspend, give this issue the time and effort it deserves because overspending is the fastest way to destroy your finances.