Do you usually start your month with a well-thought-out budget plan but then veer off it somewhere in between? Well, those could be telltale signs that you’re becoming a spendthrift.
Research shows that overspending is a learned behavior that many of us adopt when we fail to track our spending habits regularly. A few factors that trigger this habit include a sudden salary raise, upbringing, or even change in moods. For most, it starts as innocently as entertaining the thought that “a little won’t hurt” before eventually exhausting all your savings.
Overspending is a negative pattern that can deter your progress in your career and even personal life. As such, strive to stop it as soon as you realize you have a problem.
Here, we share six practical ways to curb this bad habit fast. For more tips on managing personal finances better, check out Crediful.
Identify what triggers you to overspend
What exactly is triggering your over-expenditure? Can you identify any emotional, physical, or psychological situation that could be increasing your temptation to spend more than your budget?
Here are the four most common overspending triggers:
These are the surroundings or places that force you to spend a little more than you’ve budgeted. Carry exact cash when visiting them.
This is the time of the day when the urge to spend money is high. Adjust your schedule so that it finds you when your mind is rational or more engaged.
Our moods can elicit various emotional states that make us vulnerable to impulse activities, including mindless shopping.
The people you hang out with mostly are likely to influence how much you spend. Choose your friends and companions wisely.
Formulate a budget (and stick to it)
Proper management of your finances requires that you spend within your means. This involves assessing both your expenses and sources of income and creating a budget based on this info. Below is a simple process you can adopt to create a practical budget plan:
- Open a budget spreadsheet and list your incomes and expenses in separate categories. You can use MS Excel or a piece of paper for these.
- Calculate the total amount of income, whether that is from your salary, tips, etc.
- Evaluate your total expenditure to capture how much you’re likely to spend within the budget period.
- Commit money to savings. These funds will come in handy during emergencies. Ideally, you should set aside about 20 percent of your total income.
- Create a budget for miscellaneous items. Also, don’t forget that some expenses have variable costs, so put aside some money to cover these too.
Use accountable expenditure systems
Having a cash-only expenditure system is best as it limits you to using money that you have at hand and not what you expect to receive in the future. This promotes accountable spending.
You can do it using the following easy steps:
- Get several envelopes and label each with the name of a fixed or variable expense in your budget period.
- Put money inside each to cover the expenses immediately when they fall due.
- Whenever you draw out some cash, deduct it from the total sum in that envelope for future reference.
Cut down your luxuries
Living luxuriously is a dream many hold dear, but it can lead to overspending. For example, spendthrifts who are guilty of impulse shopping are mostly addicted to instant gratification. The luxurious items help to satisfy the short-lived craving while making them feel better and accomplished. However, this dangerous behavior ends up causing feelings of regret, thereby canceling the need for instant gratification in the first place.
So, what’s the way forward? Make it your habit to cover all your expenses first before indulging in life’s pleasures with whatever remains.
Beware of sales deals on display
Marketing is a game of tactics that seeks to encourage buyers to spend more. If you’re not firm enough, you might find yourself buying things you didn’t need in the first place just because of a too-good sales deal.
For example, the seller might be selling three beers at the price of two and you only planned to get one. Although it seems like a fair deal, you’ll be overspending when paying for the extra items. To be safe, avoid impulse purchases and always stick to your budget.
Surround yourself with good company
There’s a direct relationship between loneliness and overspending. If you have no friends or close people to talk to, you’re highly likely to buy things as some relief therapy. Satisfaction from purchasing items triggers dopamine, which is the same chemical that your mind releases when you have great conversations with people.
Make new friends, especially those that encourage meaningful expenditure of your income whenever you hang out.