What’s overspending? How do I fall into a cycle of overspending? How does a person even begin to overspend? It’s actually easier than you’d think. Most people think of overspending in terms of those folks that go out and buy houses and boats and vacations they do not need, but it is actually a lot smaller than that. Overspending isn’t buying a mansion on the Italian coast, or a motorcycle from the most expensive dealer. These do often count as overspending, but let’s talk about overspending in the average consumer’s life.
Overspending usually involves spending beyond your means. You can overspend at the grocery store on food and snacks you do not need, you can overspend at the mall on clothes and shoes and accessories you do not need, or you can overspend with online shopping, which is the easiest trap to fall into because after a few clicks here and there, you can be thousands of dollars in debt…instantly!
Ways To Cut Back On Overspending
When you shop, wherever you shop and whatever you are shopping for, do so in a very focused and determined manner. If you are going out to the grocery store, have a pre-written list with you and follow that list to the letter. If you have an event or special occasion coming up and you need to buy yourself new clothes or a new accessory, decide what those clothes will be or what that accessory will be and go out and buy that item and that item only. Resist the urge to splurge! It’s easy to fall into that trap, especially if you are somewhere you like and you look around and suddenly find yourself wanting everything. Your eyes are usually bigger than your wallet, be careful. You could also try researching different stores or boutiques in your area to see who has the same or similar item for the most inexpensive price. The same thing applies to grocery shopping. You may be accustomed to shopping in one place, but if another grocery store down the block has the same items for cheaper, you should considering going there.
Cut back on frivolous spending. This is one of the major points in stopping overspending because frivolous purchases, something bought usually on a whim or because of a compulsive buy, often end up being used once and tossed or put aside never to be touched or used again. That means that blender you bought from the shopping channel for $200 was a waste of $200 because you made a compulsive buy. Were you in the market for a blender?
Did you need a blender? Does your lifestyle or diet require you to own a blender to prepare certain meals or smoothies? When you see things you want, or things you think you need to have, you need to really stop and ask yourself, do I really need this? Will I get a lot of use from this product? Will it service my life on a daily, or at least a weekly, basis? Will I still need this product in a month? Two months? In a year? Have foresight when making purchases to avoid being a compulsive spender.
People laugh when you mention shopping addictions but they are no laughing matter. They are real and they damage people’s lives, their finances, and often their relationships. People with shopping addictions will often shop and make purchases to compensate for something missing in their lives. Some people make purchases just to cheer themselves up after a bad day. Sometimes they have a bad day every day of the month which means they’ve made thirty different purchases without a single change in their mood.
If you see someone in your life that seems to have a shopping addiction or is a compulsive spender, pull them to the side and delicately ask if they are doing okay. Ask if they need anything, or if you can do anything for them. Ask how their day has been, how work has been, how school has been. Be gentle and accommodating. Mention their problem but don’t be accusatory or nasty about it. Offer solutions and your genuine help and care. It could make all the difference in the world.
Improving Your Spending Habits
There are many ways to improve your spending habits but one way that has been tried and true since the dawn of man is keeping a spending journal and a budget plan. Yes, it is tedious sometimes. Yes, it is daunting to keep your receipts and add them up at the end of the day or at the end of the week, but it makes a real difference. When you are handling your receipts and seeing where you are spending money and how much you are spending, it makes you realize how responsible or irresponsible you are being financially.
By keeping a spending journal and a budget, you are able to track where each penny you own or earn is going. If you notice that you’ve been spending $400 on take out food in a single month, it is pretty safe to say that you can cut back on that. If you are spending $500 in miscellaneous purchases, I think it’s time to really cut back there.
Living An Inexpensive Life
It’s not as hard as you think to live your life comfortably while saving money. As long as you have your basic cost of living expenses covered — such as your rent, your groceries, your utilities, and costs like that — then you should be able to save the rest of your income or money you receive. If you need clothes for something special one month, save up for that purchase specifically. Plan the purchase. Research the purchase. Make sure you are getting the most for your dollar! It is possible to live on less money if you spend and save responsibly. It is just a matter of planning and budgeting.
Tricks to Saving Money
We have already mentioned keeping a spending journal to track your spending and making a budget to allocate finances where they need to be allocated to, but there are also a few more tricks to know when you want to save money. Get yourself a piggy bank! That might seem childish, so if you prefer a mason jar or glass bowl, go ahead and use that. Whatever item you decide on, you will fill that with spare change. At the end of the day, if you have change in your pocket or small bills, put them in your jar or bowl. Doing that enough times will fill that bowl and you will find yourself with a surprise amount of saved money that you didn’t really have to work for.
You can also save money by starting to use coupons on things like groceries or household essentials. You might not think coupons are cool or trendy, but when you start saving substantial amounts of money on grocery trips because of those coupons, you won’t think they’re so silly after all. They are a great way to save money.
Speaking of groceries and household essentials, stay away from name brand products. More often than not, you are paying for the name, not the product. Off brand things do the same thing for you and often cost a few dollars less, a few dollars that adds up over time.
Selling goods you do not need or use anymore is also a great way to make money to save. You could take your things to a pawnshop or have a yard or garage sale. Even if you do not sell everything for the price you wanted, you still got more than you had before and it is still a sum of money you can put towards saving!
Saving Money Is A Process
Saving money involves changing your spending habits and changing your spending habits can be difficult at first, but well worth it in the long run. Reward yourself along the way with little treats and lots of positive reinforcement, but seeing the money you are saving while you make these great changes to your financial lifestyle should be reward enough!