Not to sound materialistic, but money is probably the most important resource in our society. It gives you the power to be independent, allowing you to buy your needs and most of your wants. Money, however, is not easy to come by. We need to be careful with how we use it. The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to finances is overspending. As a result, their lives become a mess of debt and bills. If you are one of these people who have spent over their means, then here are some tips to help you tackle your overspending problem.
1. Admit You Have a Problem
Overspending is like an addiction. You begin to solve it when you admit that there is something wrong. Remember that the problem won’t go away if you keep denying its existence. It will only get bigger and worse and that doesn’t bode well for you.
2. Keep Track of Spending
First of all, you should know how much money you have to spend. Then try to keep track of how you spend your money. If you know where your money goes, then you will know what causes your overspending.
3. Make a Budget and Stick to It
A great way to curb your overspending is by planning your purchases or making a budget. Take note of regular bills and payments you need to make. You should also plan out even small, daily or weekly purchases. If you can’t identify the exact amount, then you can make reasonable overestimations. Remember to stick to your budget.
4. Create Shopping Lists
Going to stores without a shopping list can cause you to overspend. Think of your shopping list as your weapon against overspending. List down what you absolutely need to buy and stick to that list.
5. Look for Real Deals
Store sales don’t necessarily mean that you are saving money. Don’t buy something just because it is on sale. If you can, choose to buy from secondhand stores, thrift shops, or consignment stores to get real deals on used but quality items.
6. Make Price Comparisons
Before making big purchases, try to a perform price comparison on the item. Go to different stores and check the prices of the item you want to buy. This will help you make an informed decision as to where you will buy the particular item at the cheapest price.
7. Deliberate and Wait before Buying
Before buying something, ask yourself whether it is a want or a need. Give yourself time – 24 hours to one week – before making purchases that you are not sure about. This habit will stop you from impulsive buying and from overspending.
8. Think in Terms of Energy
Instead of basing your decision on the monetary cost of an item, try to think in terms of how much time and energy it will cost you to afford it. Is a new bag worth half a day at work? Doing this exercise helps you see beyond the money. It actually makes you question what is more important to you: material possessions or your life.
9. Carry Just Enough Cash
Cash is very inconvenient that is why a lot of people prefer debit and credit cards. However, this feature of cash is also what makes it effective in keeping your spending at bay. If you carry around just enough cash for your necessities, then you will be less likely to spend impulsively. Once the money is gone, you can stop buying.
10. Eliminate Unnecessary Spending
Not all your purchases are necessary. Sometimes, they are even some of the causes of your overspending. Go through your day and think about the things you do. Do you need to stay on the computer that extra hour? Must you really have that extra cup of coffee and muffin? Be conscious of the small expenses because they can add up.
11. Stay Away from Malls and Markets
If you don’t need anything from the mall or from markets, then stay away from them. Window shopping can possibly lead you to buy things you don’t actually need. It is better if you stay away temptation rather than try to fight it. Stay home or go somewhere that won’t entice you to spend money.
12. Live below Your Means
Strive to live below your means. Of course, remember that living below your means should not be equated to living a deprived life. You can still have a beautiful and fulfilled life without overspending. Don’t feel like you have to keep up an image or your reputation. You don’t have to explain to anyone how you choose to live your life.
13. Find Cheaper Alternatives
There are many fun things in life that are cheap or free. Instead of going out to the movies every week, you can rent DVDs from video stores or borrow them from your friends. Instead of expensive spa weekends, you can have bubble baths at home. You can cook food at home in place of going to restaurants or ordering take outs. There are many affordable dates or bonding activities you can consider. Remember that you don’t have to spend money to have a good time.
14. Declutter and Appreciate What You Have
Declutter your home and sell, donate, or throw out things that you no longer use. For the things that remain, place them somewhere accessible so you won’t forget about them. You need to see what you own to appreciate them. If you appreciate and make full use of what you have, then you might think twice about buying more things.
15. Get Professional Help
A lot of people use shopping and spending as a way to fill an emotional void, to de-stress, or to have fun. If your spending becomes excessive that you go into debt, then you may have some kind of problem. If you can’t deal with this by yourself, then you may need to seek professional help. A therapist can help you discover underlying causes for your overspending.
Don’t take overspending lightly. This problem has broken many relationships and ruined many lives. You are not alone in this. Many people are willing to help and understand if only you take the first step towards recovery. Overcoming your overspending habit can be a hard and long process. But once you conquer it, you will feel like a whole new person. Remember that you don’t need to spend money to be happy and fulfilled.
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