Shopping has become so easy to do, it is almost a mindless activity for most.
From the morning coffee at the café near work and the takeout dinner three times each week, to impulse spending online, swiping a card or dolling out cash without much thought has become standard.
Overspending, as easy as it is, has the potential to derail even the savviest budgeters. Fortunately, there are a few tricks of the financial management trade that help prevent overt overspending for everyone.
#1 Recognize There’s an Issue
Most people aren’t willing to admit they have a spending problem, but a quick evaluation of their circumstances may prove they most certainly do.
Do you have a closet full of clothes with the tags still on them, or a stack of receipts in your car from your breakfast or lunch stops? If the answer is yes, it is highly likely overspending is part of your day to day financial life.
Another surefire way to tell if shopping is an issue is if there are credit card balances that only seem to grow, not go down, or next to nothing in savings for a rainy day.
Take a long, hard look at your situation, and you’ll quickly be able to see that spending is, or is not, an issue in your life.
#2 Setting Limits
Once you’ve recognized that overspending is indeed a part of your financial situation, think about the last time you set limits for yourself.
Being keenly aware of what you are able to spend, based on your income and required expenses each month, including rent, utilities, and other necessities, is one of the first steps in curbing your spending.
Based on your cash flow each month, set limits on desired expenses – things like dinners out or happy hours, clothing purchases, or other guilty pleasures. Be realistic about what you need versus what you want, and set hard limits that you refused to go past each month.
#3 Borrow Wisely
Overspending does not always come by way of lattes or new shoes – it sometimes boils down to failing to prepare for financial emergencies.
Understanding your options for borrowing money in a pinch is a necessary part of your financial life, and it will help keep you afloat should you need a cash influx.
If credit is an issue, you have a number of options – you can get quick cash with a title loan, while those with stronger credit may find a personal loan a better choice.
In either case, realize that overspending may have put you in a situation where you weren’t able to set aside for one of life’s many financial emergencies, requiring you to borrow money to get by.
#4 Avoid Temptations
Another tip in curbing overspending is the not-so-simple task of avoiding emotional spending and temptations. They are everywhere, from online to your commute to work.
However, a few easy steps can make this task less daunting. For online shoppers, remove your bank account or credit card information from the sites you visit frequently.
This forces you to get up and retrieve your payment information each time you are ready to checkout, which for some, sends a signal to the brain to rethink the purchase altogether.
For in-person shoppers, avoid the routes that take you past your favorite places, or commit to only stopping in once per month. These changes can make all the difference in overspending whether online or in person.
In addition to these tricks, over spenders can do themselves a favor by sharing their plight with a friend, family member, or professional advisor.
Telling someone that you plan to watch what you’re spending more closely makes you accountable to them; just make sure they are willing to check in with you every now and again about your success – or failure.
It takes time to curb spending habits, but it can be done with equal parts dedication and education.
So what are you doing to curb your spending habits? I would love to hear more about this in the comments below.