6 Steps to Stop Overspending When You Don’t Know Where to Start

How many times have you wondered where your money went since your last paycheck? You think back through what bills you paid during the month and are convinced that you should have more in your bank account. While the big bills that we pay stand out in our mind, it’s typically the smaller purchases made during the month that derail our finances. Whether it a great deal on a pair of boots that you found online or that new little tech gadget that was just released, overspending can drain your bank account, quickly. Below are some helpful tips that can keep more money in your wallet:

Start with a budget

A helpful way to curb overspending is to decide how you want your money to work for you. By creating a budget, you can hold yourself accountable to a plan. List out the essential purchases that you need to make each month such as rent, utilities, insurance, car payments, and groceries. Any other bills that you need to pay on a monthly basis should be included as well including credit card bills, debts with monthly installments, or loan payments. To help you save money and plan for unnecessary expenses, include a set amount for monthly savings. Once you’ve covered your essential bills and savings goals, decide how you’d like the remaining money spent.

There are many apps and software packages available to help you prepare your budget. Most can link with your bank and credit card transactions. This can help you to compare your budget to what you are actually spending each month. When you see pockets of overspending, find ways to eliminate these expenditures.

Keep track of what you are spending

While large payments, such as rent and utilities, take up a significant amount of our monthly finances, it’s the small payments that you need to keep your eye on. Review your bank and credit card statements to identify where you spend your money. Stopping by Starbucks on the way to work for your daily latte, fast-food for lunch, and monthly subscriptions are typically small amounts that fly under the radar. Over time, they add up.

A cup of gourmet coffee can easily run $4 each day, costing you $20 per week. That’s over $1,000 each year. Consider cutting back to one cup per week, instead of five. Frequent dining out is another cause of overspending. Eating out at lunchtime can easily cost around $7 each day, if not more. That’s almost $2,000 each year. Bring your lunch to work each day to save money.

Identify Spending triggers

Spending money may be motivated by our emotions and moods. If a tough day at work or challenges at home sends you shopping to relax, consider finding an alternative outlet for your stress and anxiety. Taking a walk or going to the gym are healthier outlets that do less damage to your finances.

Overspending can also happen based on where you are. If you tend to overspend when you visit the mall or have drinks with friends, consider avoiding these situations. When you must go, take a small amount of cash to keep your spending down.

Getting a raise a work can often lead to overspend. After all, the more money you make, the more you can spend. If your purchases aren’t absolutely essential, consider saving or investing your newfound wealth. Bumping up your spending “just because” is wasteful and creates a bad habit.

No credit cards

Avoid using credit cards. Take them out of your wallet and lock them up in a drawer. The convenience of credit cards leads to overspending. Online retailers make it easy to spend money when your credit card information is saved to your account. If you make frequent purchases online, don’t save your credit card information to your profile. If this a common practice for you, order new credit cards and get rid of the old ones. You lose control over your money when you charge purchases. Reduce the temptation to overspend by making credit purchases difficult.

Cash only

One of the best ways to control spending is by using cash for all purchases. Take out enough cash to cover that week’s expenses and put it in an envelope. Using cash forces to you to spend only what you have. It serves as a physical reminder of what you have on hand. Run out early one week and you’ll think twice about where you spend your money the next time.

Set a goal

Set a financial goal for yourself. Whether it is saving for a family trip, a down payment for a house, or just to build up your savings, goals give you something to work toward. Goals can be motivating you to keep better track of your money. Apps and software packages can show you a physical picture of your progress, which can help you to prevent overspending.

Stay strong

If you’ve made the commitment to follow a budget, stick to it. Focus on taking care of your commitments first before buying the fun stuff. Whether its clothing, gadgets, or the newest iPhone, think before you buy. Don’t be tempted to make unnecessary purchases, even if it’s only a few dollars. Every dollar counts when you are trying to save and curb overspending.

Overspending can drain your bank account each month. You may live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing saved up for an emergency. If overspending is wreaking havoc on your finances, you can stop this trend. Establishing good spending habits, setting goals, keeping track of your purchases, and maintaining a budget can stop overspending in its tracks.

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