If you tend to overspend, you're by far not the only one. But you can't solve your problem till you realize you have one.
What Are The Signs Of An Overspending Habit?
- You think you're on budget. However, at the end of the month, you use your credit card to pay your electric bill.
- Whenever you get a raise or promotion, your expenses automatically rise instead of your savings increasing.
- Your closets and electronics stands are fuller than your retirement account.
- Your car is the fanciest on your block, but you can't afford to fix your home's air conditioner.
Once you've admitted you have a problem, use these helpful tips to trim your bottom line.
Have Spending Diversions Ready
Excess spending is sometimes the result of a temporary impulse to fill some time, especially with the ease of online shopping. If you're thinking about shopping, you might want to call a friend, take a walk, read a good book or lose yourself in a reality TV program. You don't want to spend hundreds of dollars because you're bored.
Give Yourself Time to Feel Full
Spending sprees are more common than you might think. The purchase of a needed item is often followed by additional purchases. Door crasher sales rely on the chances of you buying more than just the one item. However, the cost adds up.
A Moment on the Credit Card
Remember that old expression, "a moment on your lips is a lifetime on your hips"? The same goes for debt. If you keep spending on your charge card, the payments could be infinite. For example, you charge a $500 outfit on your credit card that you plan on only wearing for one special occasion. If you make the minimum payment each month of 4% of your balance, it will take you 43 months to pay off your purchase, with about $175 in interest.
Use the Buddy System
If you tend to overspend when going to the mall alone, bring your best thrifty buddy with you. Not only will you spend less, but you can enjoy your friend's company.
Warning: make sure the thrifty buddy in question isn't considered thrifty because of buying items at a discount. Your thrifty buddy should be one who always stays within the budget, even if his or her favorite jeans went on sale for 50% off.
Be Open About Money
When you tend to hide snacks in draws away from your roommate, spouse or family, you'll probably eat more. Talk about your money situation and work on your financial skills until you're proud of how you manage your money.
Count Every Financial Calorie
Document every cent spent in a check register, financial document or online money management program. Why does this help if you only spend money on what you absolutely need? Let's say you grocery shop based on sale fliers. Everything you buy seems inexpensive. However, you buy groceries twice a week and 25% of your sale-priced produce ends up spoiled. Although you are buying sales items, you are buying too many. If you bought by overall budget instead of solely by sale items, you'd have less spoilage and more cash.
Do you overspend when you're sad, happy or angry? Learn how your mood affects your purchases, and think twice about each mood purchase.
Beware of Office Birthday Cake
Whether it's going out for happy hour after work, or contributing for coworker birthday presents, have spending limits and stick to them.
The Bottom Line
The downside of overspending as a habit is you get less stuff you want because you're buying items for the sake of having them. Think of having extra money at the end of the month as the leftovers that could be spent on home down payments, savings, vacations or a budgeting shopping spree. If you do this, you'll lose 10 pounds of overspending in no time.