Ten Ways to Avoid Overspending
A lot of people have trouble sticking to their budgets. Here are some tips that can help you avoid overspending.
Shop with a List
Before you go shopping, make a list of what you need to buy. Then, when you get to the store, don’t deviate from this list. Sticking to a shopping list will help prevent “impulse” purchases, stop you from buying things you don’t really need, or shopping mindlessly. Being more conscious what you’re shopping for will help you avoid overspending.
Know Your Spending Triggers
Everyone has different moods or situations where they’re more likely to spend money unwisely. Some people are more likely to overspend when they’re tired or stressed out while others spend more when they’re out with friends.
To figure out what your spending triggers are, look at your credit and debit transactions for the last few months. When did you spend the most or make purchases that you now regret? Are there any trends that you pick up on? If there are, take note. The next time you’re in these situations, recognize that you’re more likely to spend at this point, and make a conscious effort to put your wallet away.
Track Your Spending
Keep track of what you spend and do so shortly after you spend any money. If you wait until the end of the week (or even the end of the day) to take note of your purchases, you’re likely to forget some.
Tracking your spending helps you see where your money is going, so you can make adjustments. It also makes you more aware of each time you spend money, which can help you control your spending.
Stick to Cash
Credit and debit cards are very easy to use, which makes it easy to overspend. Credit cards especially can lead to issues, since they allow you to spend money you don’t have. If you’re prone to overspending, consider living on cash. This way, you can only spend money that you have already earned.
However, if you decide to live on cash, you’ll need to have a budget and stick to it closely. Otherwise, you could run out of money before you pay all your monthly expenses.
Take Time to Cool Off
When you see something interesting in a store or online, it’s tempting to want to buy it right away. This is especially true if the item is on sale or something you don’t see very often. However, if you’re prone to overspending, one of the best ways to stop yourself from going overboard is to wait after you see something. Take a walk around the store or the mall. Close the website. Really think about the potential purchase and whether it fits into your budget.
The general rule is that, the more expensive something is, the more time you should spend thinking about it. There’s nothing wrong with going home and coming back to the store in a few days. If the purchase is something you really want or need, and something you can afford, you can buy it later.
Don’t Shop Socially
A lot of people shop for fun or for something to do with their friends. Instead, it’s a good idea to try and come up with some free activities. If you sit down and think about it, you’ll realize that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Taking a walk with friends can be a good alternative to going on a shopping trip, for example.
Make Food at Home
Eating at restaurants and take-out places costs significantly more than eating foods you’ve prepared yourself. Instead of going out for dinner, look up some recipes and cook at home. The same is true for lunches. Making a lunch at home and taking it with you to work or school can help you save a lot of money.
Look at What You Have Already
Before you buy a new outfit, piece of furniture, or just about anything else, take a look at what you already have. Are there some clothes in your closet that you rarely wear? Could those be suitable for your upcoming event? Can you spruce up or repurpose an old table in your basement, instead of buying a new one? Rather than immediately make a new purchase, consider what you already own.
Don’t Save Credit Card Details
Most websites let you save your credit card details so you can check out faster the next time. The problem with this is that it becomes far too easy to make purchases without thinking when you don’t actually have to take out your card and enter the number. Just the act of going to get your wallet instead of simply clicking a button can make you think about your purchase and avoid overspending.
Plan Your Treats
Save up for treats and splurges. This gives you something to look forward to and provides you with a reward for staying on budget. Plus, if you know you’re going to be able to treat yourself next week, you’ll be less likely to do it today.