Three Ways To Curb Your Overspending Habit

Posted on: 4 April 2016

Do you often find that you spend more money than you should? Maybe you know you have bills to pay, but you blow your paycheck on new clothes or expensive meals instead. Or perhaps you've run up mountains of credit card debt buying wanted items, rather than needed ones. The longer you keep overspending, the bigger the hole you'll dig yourself into. It's essential to break this habit as soon as you recognize it. Here are three tips to help you do just that.

See a counselor.

Most people who overspend do so for a reason. They don't just want that special purse or crave the expensive steak. The items fill some hole in their lives or calm some negative emotions they're dealing with. For some people, overspending develops into a full-blown shopping addiction in which the buyer has little to no control over their behavior.

Whether you feel you have a full-blown shopping addiction or suspect that you just buy things to make bad days better, it's useful to see a counselor about your overspending. A counselor at a clinic like Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates Inc can help you better understand why you overspend -- and once you understand why you do so, you'll have better control over the behavior. Your counselor can also help you identify situations that trigger your shopping habits. These might be things like having an argument with your spouse or having a bad day at work. Your counselor can equip you with healthier ways to deal with these stresses so you're not as tempted to shop.

Create a budget.

Make a plan for your money at the beginning of each month. That way, you know how much you have to spend on certain items and in certain categories. The temptation to buy items you don't need may be overshadowed by the desire to stick to your spending plan.

Setting up a budget is not as challenging as you might think. Make a spreadsheet (or write a list on paper) in which you first list all of your fixed expenses, such as rent, utility bills and loan payments. Then, list the categories in which your expenses may vary from month to month. This includes categories like entertainment, groceries, and clothing purchases. Write down how much you will spend in each category that month. Ensure the total of all of your categories adds up to equal your monthly income. Then, stick to your spending plan. Whenever you feel tempted to overspend, look back at your budget and remind yourself that you need to stick to it.

Make it harder to spend your money.

Most people who overspend do so on impulse. They see something they want, and they buy it minutes later. If you can make it so that it takes longer for you to actually make a purchase, you give yourself more time to re-think your spending decision and decide against buying the item. There are a few ways to make it harder or more time-consuming to spend.

  • When you head to a store, only bring enough money for the items you need. Don't bring your credit cards. This way, you cannot buy anything extra.
  • Put all of your extra money in an online savings account. It will take a few days to transfer it into your regular checking account to make a purchase, and by that time, you'll hopefully have decided against making that purchase.
  • Do not "save" your credit card information on any online shopping websites. By the time you go find your card and enter the information, you'll often have gained the willpower to say "no" to the item.

Overspending is a habit that will leave you broke and in debt. Follow the tips above, and break this habit before it starts wreaking serious havoc on your life.