Have you ever started off the month with the best of intentions to save money? Buying only what you need, steering clear of the sales displays, and trying to watch your spending? And then, despite your best efforts, it seems to happen. Before you know it, you’ve spent more money than you wanted to. Don’t beat yourself up, it happens to many of us. Here are some tips on how to stop spending money.
There are many reasons why we overspend. It could be because we aren’t aware of our true spending habits. Or we are guesstimating our income, expenses, debt payments and spending incorrectly. Then in the end our bank account balance dips lower than what we expect. Whatever the reason, are you ready to take control of your finances?
Reasons why you overspend
People spend money for so many reasons. If we’re a little honest with ourselves, most of those reasons can be chalked up to emotions. Many times, we can blame our overspending on the following things:
Not Tracking Your Spending
Regardless of how much you earn —if you’re not tracking your spending, you’ll never be in control of your money. In fact, you’ll always feel like your money owns you.
Listen: Living paycheck to paycheck is the pits. If you’re wondering where all your hard-earned money went each month, it’s time to start tracking it! Stick with me, and I’ll show you how.
Different moods and emotional states can alter our energy resources. Making us more prone to impulse shopping. For example, if we’re upset, stressed or anxious we may seek some retail therapy to feel better. But instead of hitting the mall or your favorite internet shopping site, hit the gym or the park. Going for a walk or doing some exercise will do wonders for lifting up your mood. Other moods can tint your shopping with rose colored glasses. And everything begins to look like a great deal.
What’s important is that you identify the moods that affect your spending behavior. Find ways to avoid shopping during moods that will cause you to impulse buy.
Stick to cash and stop relying on credit cards
If you haven’t noticed, you spend more when paying with plastic. Whether that’s a credit card or a debit card, the research is the same. When you spend with cash, you feel it. You feel those crisp (or wadded up) bills leave your hand, and it hurts. Something inside of you cringes. Moments before, you had money, and now, you don’t.
Think about it, when you’re shopping with plastic, it’s easy to spend more. Why? Because you don’t see the money right in front of you. So, the next time you make a purchase, pay in cash, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Plus, there’s no overspending—you can only spend what you have with you.
Here’s the good news: You can overcome these overspending habits with a little planning, self-discipline and long-term thinking. Here’s how you can stop spending money.
5 ways to Stop Spending Money
Know what you spending money on
Making and sticking to a budget every single month is what is going to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt. If this is your first time budgeting, you might be surprised by how much money you’re spending each week. All the little things, like coffee, lunches or that snack shop at work that your spouse doesn’t know about, add up.
Learn how to Budget
Not having a spending plan can be a big reason a lot of people can’t seem to stop spending money. If we don’t know how much we take home each month and how much our expenses add up to, we’ll continue to buy what we think we can afford. Only to realize at the end of the month that our bank account isn’t as plush as we thought. To solve this, it’s important that you learn how to budget money.
If this is your first budget, you’ll want to give yourself grace. It takes a few months to make your budget work for you. If you’re an expert, take another look through your monthly expenses for other ways to trim your spending.
Do you really need to spend money on clothes every single week? Probably not. What about that gym membership you haven’t used in eight months? It’s time to get honest with yourself and start trimming the fat out of your budget. Answering these questions can help put you on the path to spending your money with intentional.
Go shopping with a goal in mind.
A goal could be: new socks to replace your holey pairs. Or, replacing your broken cellphone. Having a goal when shopping, will stop you from spontaneous purchases. Focuses on one essential item when shopping also gives you a clear budget for your shopping trip.
When food shopping, make a grocery list. This way, when you are in the store, you can stick to the list. If you have a hard time sticking to a grocery list, try online grocery shopping. This will allow you to keep a running total of your purchases and be aware of exactly what you are spending.
Don’t get sucked into sales.
Ah, the irresistible lure of a deal! Retailers are counting on their customers to get sucked in by the sales rack. It’s important to resist the temptation to buy something because its on sale. Even big discounts can mean big spending. Instead, your only two considerations when shopping should be: do I need this item? And does this item fit within my budget?
Stop Spending Money at Restaurants
Changing how you spend money on food is one of the easiest ways to save money. And we all know that going out to eat gets expensive fast. If you’re spending R50 on lunch four times a week, that’s R200 a week—and R800 a month! Imagine how quickly you could pay off debt with that kind of money!
Consider this: Instead of heading into the grocery store and wandering up and down the aisles, create your meal plan for the week, make a list before you go. If you need to leave the kids (or your spouse) at home to save even more, don’t think twice about it. Planning your meals in advance means lowering your food costs.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever treat yourself to a nice dinner or Sunday morning brunch. Just make sure it’s in the budget.
The key to stop your overspending is creating better money habits. And being intentional with what you spend your money on. Don’t step into a store again without a budget and a plan!