Are you guilty of overspending? Here are three simple ideas to help you stop

Do you worry you’re spending too much every month? Discover three simple ways you can stop overspending – and get your buying habits under control. 

It’s impossible to get through life today without spending money. But how much of your monthly expenditure is strictly necessary?

As pleasurable as it can be to spend money sometimes (new clothes, a lovely meal out, a weekend break with friends), that pleasure diminishes when we start living outside our means. Or rather than buying what we need, we find ourselves purchasing out of compulsion.

But how can you get your buying under control? And stop overspending? Here are three tips to help you from Cash1Loans.

1) Track your spending

When you have no idea over how much you’re spending it’s much easier to go over your monthly budget. It’s also harder to stop spending – with no limits or guidelines at all in place, you are literally out of control!

Instead, we recommend you have a clear monthly budget – both for necessary purchases (such as utilities and your weekly food shop) and for unnecessary purchases (eating out, new clothes etc).

Then you start tracking your spending by recording every single penny you spend for each in a notebook you carry around with you – and add the sums up each day.

This way not only do you have that ‘sense check’ moment before purchase when you’re aware you need to record the amount you’re about to spend. But you can see also every day how much of your monthly allowance you have already consumed. And if nothing else it’s a visual picture of exactly how much money you are letting slip through your fingers.

2) Set yourself financial goals

Once you have your monthly budgets (necessary and unnecessary spending allowances), why not set yourself goals to keep you in line? Or even underneath it?

Challenge yourself to spend under a particular amount or to save a particular amount every day or week. For example, you could see how much money you can save by bringing a packed lunch into work and not eating out. Or you could find ways to try to reduce your necessary spending by a particular amount.

By setting yourself financial goals you take your focus off what you want to buy, and instead flip it around to how much you can save. The pleasure becomes not in the purchase, but the saving.

So if you don’t already do so, start setting yourself financial challenges and see how much you can shave of your monthly outgoings.

3) Know your spending triggers

We all have spending triggers – factors that can affect our inherent spending habits. When you recognise yours you can avoid or take action to minimise their impact. Here are some common spending triggers:

  • Time of day – like any decision, we make wiser choices about money when our mind is fresh and we’re not flagging or pre-occupied. So recognise your ‘weak’ times of the day and forbid yourself from making financial decisions at those times.
  • Mood – when we’re emotionally stressed or upset we’re more likely to indulge in a bit of impulse shopping and find ourselves purchasing items we don’t need (but really, really want in the moment). So again, try to recognise when you’re not calm and objective and stop buying then!
  • Immediate environment – are there places (shops, websites, restaurants) where your resolve weakens? Where you can’t possible leave without buying or consuming at least one thing? If so, keep away from them – easy!
  • Peer pressure – perhaps on your own you find it quite easy to be good. But in the company of particular friends you always find yourself spending. Maybe they’re wealthier than you and you spend to keep up with them, or perhaps you feel compelled somehow to impress them? Either way, if you find yourself changing your spending habits with particular people, either see less of them, or find a way to meet them where you can’t spend money even if you want to!
  • Lifestyle – if money was tight during your childhood you may feel a compulsion to spend now to compensate for things you believe you missed out on. Or conversely you grew up with money, so are used to not thinking about how much you spend. Either way, you need to re-learn how to approach your income in terms of filtering both temptations and a previously schooled mindset.

Stop overspending – and start enjoying spending money!

When you overspend, buying new things ceases to become enjoyable. Either you’re buying out of compulsion, rather than pleasure, or you have a pang of guilt that you can’t really afford it.

But when your spending is under control, and you’re buying from genuine need or joy, within your monthly budget, you can enjoy your new purchases or experiences guilt free.