Tired of being broke all the time? Here’s how to rein in overspending.
If you overspend on a regular basis, you’re not alone. We’re all bombarded with nonstop advertising and marketing that convinces us to buy anything we might want. Add an abundance of impulse-buy items at the grocery checkout and quick delivery of just about anything we want to purchase online, and it’s nearly impossible to not overspend each month.
Don’t be discouraged, though. Once you start paying attention to your purchases and tweak your spending habits, you can free up more money in your monthly budget.
Below are seven ways to nip overspending in the bud to avoid racking up credit card debt.
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1. Create a budget
Before you can curtail overspending, you must know how much income you have to work with and where most of it goes each month. That’s where a budget, which is essential to good money management, comes in handy. You can easily set up a budget with a budgeting app such as Mint, PocketGuard or Honeydue (for couples). Prefer a hard copy? Download a budget template online.
Find out: How to Create a Budget and Stick to It
2. Prepare a grocery list
Nearly a third of shoppers surveyed by Lending Tree said they “almost always” overspend at the grocery store. It’s easy to go crazy in the snacks aisle or load up on featured foods and other items that catch your eye when you don’t have a plan going into the store.
So, before you grocery shop, make a list based on what you already have on hand and plan meals for the week. You’ll exit the store with a lighter shopping cart instead of a lighter wallet.
Find out: 9 Tips to Save Money on Groceries
3. Pay with cash when you can
Using credit or debit cards for all purchases is a major cause of overspending since transactions are easy and painless – until you get your credit card statement or balance your checking account to find you have only $5 left for the week.
When you pay with cash, however, you notice exactly how much money you’re spending on a daily basis. To rein in credit card spending, allocate enough money in separate envelopes for the coffee shop, groceries, restaurants and other places where you can pay with cash.
4. Know your shopping triggers
We all have days when the boss is on our back, we’re feeling anxious or depressed or some other emotion leads us to our phone or laptop for some online shopping to cheer us up. Shopping when you’re upset or bored is a recipe for overspending on things you don’t need.
So, next time emotions push you towards unnecessary purchases, go for a walk to clear your head instead or call a friend to talk you down from the impulse purchase ledge.
Find out: 9 Budget Hacks to Free Up Cash
5. Leave your credit card in the car
Leaving your credit card in the car when you randomly hit a favorite big-box or another retail store for a little impulsive shopping may seem like a silly thing to do. After all, you’d have to walk all the way back outside to buy anything at all. But that’s the point. Not having your credit or debit card readily available means you have to think more about your purchases and are less likely to overspend on unnecessary items you can’t afford.
6. Check your credit card account daily
No one wants to look at their credit card balance every day, but if you do, the specter of your upcoming credit card bill will haunt you with every unnecessary purchase. And you won’t be surprised to find out that your credit balance jumped $1,000 in just a week when you weren’t paying attention to how much you spent.
7. Review bank and credit card statements
If checking your credit card balance regularly doesn’t put the fear of overspending in you, reviewing all your credit transactions for the month should do the trick. Look closely at all your purchases to find out where you’re overspending so you can trim the next statement of even small transactions that can add up to one big debt headache.
Published by Debt.com, LLC