Healthy Ways to Cut Down On Overspending
When we are out there shopping everything seems different. Our bank accounts and bills seem fine, and our shopping surges ahead. Finding the perfect shoes, bag or jacket really does make the day. Later, as we add up our bills and balance the checkbook, it often becomes a different story loaded up with a big helping of unhealthy stress.
Most of us have devised ways to limit overspending, handling our credit cards with care, and avoid unneeded shopping trips. Some of us take drastic measures, avoiding shopping trips with friends as much as possible, and skipping the sale ads to avoid temptation.
To reel in overspending completely takes discipline
Think about your last splurge, and ask yourself why and where it happened. Were you done with a big job and feeling as though you really deserved it? Or maybe you had a big event coming up and something new was definitely needed.
Then there are the times when we are frustrated, tired, overloaded or just bored. Those can all activate the shopping button too. And of course, traveling, expecting visitors, or planning big events for family and friends can dial up overspending too.
I find I am at my most creative when I come up with reasons to overspend. I am also creative in telling myself that I can always cut back in other spots. If you find yourself doing these mental gymnastics too, try to observe what’s happening and do a slowdown before you overspend. Call up a friend or head off to the gym.
Tracking Overspending Habits
You may not cut out overspending completely, but try to keep a few notes in your checkbook about where and when you went awry. If you see a pattern, like Saturday mornings with nothing special to do, or Sunday afternoons with a big work load looming on Monday, then do your best to steer around the weak spots.
Another approach that might help is to outline a few things that you really want to do that have nothing to do with money. Time spent with an old friend, a weekend hiking and camping, or preparing and sharing a pasta dinner with a friend, can easily put shopping out of the danger zone.
Whatever your overspending habits, the sooner you get a handle on it, the better you and your checkbook will feel.