Overspending can seriously impact your financial health and prevent you from reaching your savings goals. But with some effort and commitment, you can break the overspending habit for good. Here are 10 proven strategies to help you stop overspending once and for all:
1. Track Your Spending
The first step is to understand exactly where your money is going. Download a budgeting app or use a spreadsheet to track all of your expenses for at least a month. This will show you where those small daily purchases are adding up. Knowing your spending patterns is key to identifying areas to cut back.
2. Use Cash Only
Go cash-only for daily purchases like coffee, lunch, transportation, or groceries. Withdraw a set amount from your account each week and once that cash is gone, your spending must stop. Using only cash will make you much more aware of what you’re spending in the moment.
3. Unsubscribe from Emails
Retailers send emails to tempt you into sales. Unsubscribe from all non-essential emails. Seeing less promotions will reduce your urge to shop and spend. If you need to buy something, search for it directly rather than browsing sales emails.
4. Wait 72 Hours Before Purchases
When you feel the urge to buy something unnecessary, wait 72 hours before purchasing. This creates a buffer and allows the desire to pass. Chances are, after 3 days you will have forgotten all about that item you just had to have.
5. Avoid Browsing
Browsing leads to impulse spending. Don’t leisurely scroll through online shops or stores if you don’t actually need anything. Stay focused with a list when shopping and don’t allow time for random browsing. Unfollow shops on social media that aren’t relevant to your needs.
6. Park Farther Away
When running errands, park at the farthest spot from the store entrance instead of circling to find the closest spot. The extra walking distance will discourage you from popping into additional stores along the way just because they are convenient. Go in, get what you need, and leave without unnecessary stops.
7. Identify Triggers
Notice what triggers your spending urges. Are you more tempted when drinking your morning coffee and browsing online? Do you spend when you’re bored? Identifying these triggers will allow you to find ways to avoid them or replace spending with healthier activities.
8. Keep a Thoughtful Purchase List
Keep an ongoing list on your phone of things you need and useful items to purchase when you have spare money in your budget. Adding to this list over time rather than making random impulse purchases will ensure your money goes toward purchases that improve your life.
9. Limit Credit Cards
Reduce your access to credit cards and limit yourself to one for essentials and emergencies. With fewer cards, you have less available credit to spend. Consider even freezing extra cards in a block of ice as a visual deterrent when temptation strikes.
10. Find Free Activities
Replace aimless shopping trips with free enriching activities. Take a yoga class at your gym, browse the local library, or visit a free museum. This will lift your mood so you are less tempted to shop and spend as a pick-me-up.
Breaking an overspending addiction takes determination, but these strategies will train your mind and habits to help resist temptation. Set a positive goal like saving for a vacation or paying off debt to keep you motivated. With a plan in place, you can take control of your money and finally stop overspending for good.