After surveying my lovely readers a few months back, I noticed one common recurring theme that seemed to be giving you all trouble – overspending.
You wanted to save, pay bills, and pay off debt; however, you always felt like there wasn’t enough money at the end of the month. More importantly, you flat out told me that you had big issues with overspending.
I understand your struggles. I’m not so far removed from overspending tendencies myself. I still have my bad days occasionally, but the difference is I’ve learned to budget enough money to make up for those every so often frivolous spending sprees.
So in order to address your issues, we’re going to discuss a few things today that will help you reign in your overspending so you will feel like you’re actually making some progress.
8 Ways to Stop Overspending
1) Write down your goals.
It’s not good enough having your goals locked in your brain somewhere. Trust me, you will forget all about them when you see that handbag on a major discount at TJ Maxx.
So, first, you need to write those suckers down and keep them in a place where you can see them every day. I keep mine in my Happy Planner and I also have a Google Doc that goes into more details on each goal (and yes, I have Google Docs saved on my phone too).
2) Unsubscribe to mailing lists to stop overspending.
Trust me on this one. It’s not helping you whatsoever to be on the COACH email list so you can receive an update on their weekly sales. And is it just me or does it seem like they have a different sale every darn day of the week?
It doesn’t help me control myself when I’m tempted with the latest and greatest on one of my major weaknesses. Since I’ve unsubscribed, I haven’t purchased a new COACH bag in almost four years. I don’t need one either. I’m still carrying the same $400 Italian leather bag I purchased back in 2010.
Related Reading: 6 Step Plan to Pay off Debt and Save Money
3) Do not go browse the stores for fun.
I know you’re bored, but you need a new hobby. If you like reading, grab a few books from the library or treat yourself to a Kindle monthly subscription so you can read all the books you want.
Do not go to Target just because you have a few minutes to spare. If you need to step into a store, go in there with a plan and avoid areas that tempt you into purchasing what you don’t need. For me, that means avoiding the home decor and kid’s clothing area. For you, it may mean avoiding the beauty aisles.
4) Sleep on it.
If you absolutely see something that you feel you NEED (not want) to have, sleep on it. Think of how much it costs and do a cost analysis to see how much debt you could pay off if you didn’t purchase it.
Or think of how many hours you would need to work to recoup that purchase.Once you’ve slept on it and considered the true cost of the item, you will be leaving your emotions at the door and can make an informed decision on whether you really need it after ALL.
5) Budget for your overspending tendencies.
When I say budget, I don’t mean keep a crazy amount of loot set aside to go crazy with. What I mean by that is simply accounting for things you forgot to budget for.
For instance, I’m currently experimenting with You Need a Budget software and one of the items on the budget is stuff I forgot to budget for. Anytime I overspend, I add it to this category. At the end of the month, I’m able to see how much in this category was spent due to overspending.
If the spending was justified, I can use this information to budget accordingly for whatever I purchased in the future. Perhaps, this means I’m not budgeting enough for fun stuff. Or maybe it means by budget doesn’t accurately reflect how much money I need for clothing for my family.
Sometimes overspending isn’t an indicator you don’t know how to control yourself, sometimes it means you’re not accounting for everything you truly need to make your budget work for you. So if you have an overspending problem, think about what you’re spending money on and figure out whether you need to put it in the budget.
Related Reading: How to Create a Budget That Won’t Fail
6) Reign in those coupons.
This doesn’t mean to stop using your coupons, of course. However, it does mean don’t purchase things simply because you have a coupon.
You know, you have a coupon for a $1.00 off conditioner, but you have 15 bottles of conditioner under your cabinet sink. Nah…leave that conditioner in the store and forget about that coupon. You don’t need it.
If you like (or insist) on stocking up on things like toiletries and food, put it in your budget. Have a category where you budget for stockpiling so that you won’t spend more than what you’ve budgeted for that particular month.
This way, regardless of whether you have a coupon, if you’ve already spent your $20 stockpile budget for the month, you shouldn’t have a reason to pull out that coupon to justify your overspending.
7) Declutter and organize.
Now this one doesn’t seem so obvious, but it truly will help you stop overspending. How?
Well, how many times have you went to the store to buy, let’s say, AA batteries, only to discover a week or two later that you already had some at home?
If you don’t know where your stuff is at, it’s out of sight and out of mind. You’ll forget all about it and end up going to the store to repurchase something you already have. That’s the worst kind of overspending right there and it can be downright annoying.
So save yourself some trouble and go through your house and toss things you don’t truly need. Then take the time to organize the things you need to keep. Having a place for everything will help you stop spending on things you don’t really need.
8) Get a budgeting app.
Let’s be real, just about everyone has a smartphone of some sort these days. Since you’re paying all that money for it, make sure you’re using it to help you save money.
Not only is having a smartphone good for money saving apps like Ibotta, it’s perfect for keeping up with your budget!
There are so many different budgeting apps that it’s ridiculous. Finding the right one can be a pain in the neck, but right now YNAB is making quite a good impression on me.
It allows me to budget for whatever expense right from my phone (it syncs back up with the computer version), and I’m able to easily add expenses as I spend from each category while I’m out.
If I spend too much in one category, I have to find money from another category to add to the budgeted expense.
I’m pretty sure that YNAB isn’t the only app that offers this function, so regardless of whether you use a paid app or not, use any type of budgeting app that will inform you when you’re about to overspend in a category
Check out this awesome article that reviews some of the best budgeting and savings apps for Android and iPhone.
Wrapping Thangs Up
If you have trouble with overspending, it’s not the end of the world. And no matter how much you think you’ve gotten it together financially, we’re all capable of a little budgeting mishap every now and then.
The magic happens when we’re able to figure out what is causing our overspending and create preventable measures to keep it from happening again. These eight measures helped me to bring that overspending into check, and if you really want to stop overspending, it will help you too.
Do you struggle with overspending? Which one of these eight things do you believe will help you stop overspending?