How much debt are you carrying right at this moment? If you answered “some” or even “a lot” you are in excellent company. According to one financial guru, an estimated 80 percent of adults today are grappling with the after-effects of overspending.
Worse, nine percent (1 in 11) of your indebted peers say they don’t think they will ever dig their way out in full.
Overspending, like ordering that extra glass of wine or skipping your workout just this once, can feel great in the moment – self-indulgent, self-caring, even. But an overspending hangover doesn’t wear off in 24 hours. It can stay with you for years or even for life.
These eight tips are designed to help you move away from the plastic, the cash and the impulse purchases one small decision at a time.
8 Tips to Nip Overspending In the Bud
Whether you are desperate to curb overspending or just curious about what it might require, these eight tips are all about helping you do the deed!
1. Stop carrying your credit cards around with you.
The premise here is simple: if you don’t have it with you, you can’t use it.
2. Look at your bank account and credit card accounts every single day.
Imagine your bank account is your pet dog who loves to dig under the fence and escape. Knowing this, you would keep a close watch every time she went out to pee, wouldn’t you?
This is about the appropriate level of vigilance that can really help you start to learn your own spending patterns and their impact on your finances.
It may just be that beloved American cowboy actor Will Rogers said it best (and we paraphrase) – earn it first, then spend it.
In other words, taking a pause before pulling out your wallet, whether that pause is for 24 minutes, 24 hours or 24 days, can help you identify where overspending now might cost you later.
Whenever you feel the urge to spend your hard-earned money, wait. Chances are after your waiting period is up, you won’t find yourself spending, or at least not spending as much.
4. Stay out of the stores and offline.
To hear one reporter tell it, the main reason to stay out of the stores and offline is to have more money to use on things you want more than that cute handbag.
The truth is that it is your money to spend and you can spend it any way you like. But, do you really want to buy one more pair of shoes now and then not be able to afford a fun weekend getaway later?
5. Stop eating your money.
Boy can this be a tough one! Whole websites have formed around handing out tips to master that shape-shifting maestro, your weekly shopping list.
From not shopping when you are hungry to clearing your pantry shelves before heading out to refill them, there are tons of techniques to try.
6. Use a list and stick to it.
Making lists is still one of the most under-rated tactics for taking back control over your finances, your refrigerator, your time and your life.
The technique is so powerful one author calls it “Listful Thinking” (yes there is a book by the same name).
The real power, however, may not be in the list itself, but rather in the commitment you make by writing your intentions down in the form of a list.
7. Think about your future self.
If you-now could give you-then any hard-won advice, what would it be? For that matter, if you-future could help make you-now’s life a bit easier, what do you think she would say to you?
Would she urge you to stop overspending and save for bigger, better dreams as well as rainy days in-between? It is worth stopping to think about.
Contemplate your future self and care for her by considering the impact your spending choices have on her.
8. Analyze why you’re overspending.
If ever there was an easy-sounding question with no easy answers, it is this one. Why do you overspend?
Even the most concrete and valid-seeming reasons tend to erode with sufficiently close scrutiny. After all, spending with plastic didn’t even become a thing until the 1980’s. We as a species haven’t had much time to adjust to our own rapidly changing financial landscape.
So when we head out to shop, it is no real wonder we occasionally (often) confuse psychological need with survival need, with our plastic-filled wallets ending up on the proverbial chopping block as a result.
Curbing overspending isn’t a 24-hour project. You didn’t develop your overspending habits overnight and you won’t change them overnight. But you can make small daily changes today and tomorrow and the next day that add up to big important changes next year and into your future.
For extra motivation that is actually fun, keep a journal and let yourself write down every tiny victory in the battle of you versus overspending!