I wanted to share some of my tips to stop overspending. I am a natural ‘saver’, and I love to share thrifty ideas. 🙂 I have certainly had my times with overspending. I shop differently than many women; I buy chickens and stapler guns instead of clothes and shoes 😀 – but the problem is the same. First thing I know, money has disappeared! Mostly, I have figured out how to prevent this problem. Here are my top tips:
Use a budget
I know, no one likes that word! But one of the best ways to stop overspending, is to use a budget. It doesn’t have to be exact science, but having some sort of a budget set up, will help you reach your goal. There are many online systems, apps, or good old pen & paper. My recommendation is to start simple. Buy a cheap notepad and write down everything you buy in a week. Then do a month. To set up a budget that will work, you first need to know what you are spending.
Check out these pretty budget planners from Amazon: (affiliate link)
Have a limit
This is a good trick I use to keep myself from overspending. I have a spending limit – a self-detemined amount I won’t cross without telling my husband. Somehow, it is a lot harder to justify stuff to my husband, than it is to myself! Plus, taking time to tell him about it first, often gives me enough time to realize I don’t need that item. (Note: my husband doesn’t even know I do this! AND, he always tells me to buy it if I want it. Not helpful, haha! But he is such a generous husband, he always wants me to buy nice things. 😉 It is just my secret, self-imposed method of not overspending. )
So consider your budget, your spending habits, and your actual needs. Determine a reasonable amount. Stick to it! Whether you set the limit at 100 or 25 – stick to it. Try it a month and see what happens. I mean, if you set the limit at $5, you will break it. Give yourself some common-sense wiggle room! But set a limit. I can tell you, it is much harder to justify that $100 gadget if you tell your husband about it first. 😉
Use the time test
You see something in a TV ad, in a magazine… shoot – probably on Amazon! You want it NOW. But do you need it now?? Probably not. So give yourself some time to consider it. A day, perhaps. At the end of the day ask yourself if you can wait another day. Sometimes after a few days you realize that you don’t really want to buy that thing.
Don’t just do this for big ticket items – try it with little things like snacks or clothes. It may help you lose weight at the same time! Haha! I use this trick all the time. I tell myself I can buy my favorite treat ‘next time’. Only, next time I sweet-talk myself out of it again. Sometimes its months before I actually break down and buy that ice cream treat I have been wanting! 😉 Maybe it sounds juvenile, but hey – anything to stop overspending, right?!
Stop looking at sales
Everyone says to shop the sales, but I actually find that watching the sales TOO much can be counterproductive. Yes, I like to get stuff on sale – but there is the problem of seeing alll the great stuff on sale, then I buy more than I would have. Is that saving me money?? I don’t think so.
You have to find a balance, here. Yes, get the grocery fliers, but maybe stop browsing the sales online, stop getting the sales catalogs (or toss them immediately). Yes it hurts! But it is a habit that can be broken. If you need to get a handle on your spending habits, try it. Don’t even open those catalogs and fliers. Toss them.
Unsubscribe from store emails
This goes along with the last point; stop watching the sales. Unsubscribe freely! Having those awesome deals coming regularly to your inbox is unnecessary and overwhelming. Just unsubscribe. If you decide you really need them, you can always get them again.
“But I might miss something!” Yes, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real problem! 😀 I laugh because I have it too. But really, the stores I shop at 90% of the time, they post in-store when they are having a sale. So I still find out. Yes, there are online things you miss, but again I ask you: “do you NEED it?” Remember, the goal is to stop overspending. Try it for a year. Or even 6 months. Tell yourself you can resubscribe after that time if you are missing it too much. We have to sweet-talk ourselves, you know. 😉
This one is hard for many people. Who wants someone else privy to their spending?? No one, that’s who. We like our privacy. We also don’t want anyone to think we can’t afford something. But I tell you – accountability is a proven way to start better habits.
Find a person you trust. Maybe that means your husband! Maybe a sister or friend. Maybe the two of you need to go together to another couple to share accountability. (I know some folks who do Dave Ramsey’s course together). Maybe you don’t need to share dollar amounts – maybe just whether you are sticking to your budget, or whether you overspent again. Ouch!
These are some methods I use for reining in my spending. I don’t want to live on credit – I want to be debt-free. I want to save for emergencies, retirement, and unexpected necessities. I know ‘life happens’, but I believe we should be careful with our money habits and not wasteful.
“Even the tiny ants with their teeny brains have enough sense to store up provision for later!” -Zac Poonen, Through The Bible Proverbs 6:6-11
By God’s grace, I hope to prepare for my old age so I can be a blessing to others, and not a burden.
What are some things you do to stop overspending? I’d love for you to share in the comments! 🙂