Do you have an overspending habit? Are you buying more things than you need and left with less money than you’d like? It’s time to break that cycle and start being intentional with your hard-earned dollars. Here are 3 simple tips to tame your overspending so you can save more money.
3 Simple Tips to Stop Overspending
1. Give yourself a reason
The key to being successful with any life change is to motivate yourself with a reason that matters to you. Just like smokers quit their smoking habit to be healthier, shoppers quit their shopping habit so they can have more money.
But what do you want that money for? How will having more money impact your life?
You need to figure out what that money means to you and what you want to use it for. Maybe it means you’ll be able to fully stock your emergency fund. Or maybe it means you’ll be able to pay off that student loan you’ve been carrying around for the past ten years.
Decide for yourself what you want to save for. Make sure that your reason is big enough to keep you motivated when temptation strikes.
Then, take some preventative measure so that you don’t forget you reason when you see that super cute thing you don’t need and you start to reach for your credit card.
Write your reason on a post-it in your wallet so that you see it before you buy anything. Put another reminder by your computer to help you resist overspending while you’re shopping online. You can even screenshot something that reminds you of your reason and set it to be the lock screen on your phone so you see it staring back at you every time you pick up your phone.
These constant reminders will help keep those impulse purchases out of your shopping bag.
- Read: 5 Tips to Shop Less
2. Stop shopping for fun
When you go to the mall “just for fun” you will leave with 3 bags of stuff you don’t need and a much lighter wallet.
Start thinking of shopping as a necessity instead of recreation.
Replace the time you were spending shopping with new (preferably free) ways to enjoy yourself like reading, cooking, or going for a hike.
If you’re in the habit of meeting your girlfriends for afternoon shopping trips, you may feel obligated to continue that money-sucking habit. Instead of meeting your friends in the stores, meet for coffee, a scenic walk or simply spend time in each other’s homes.
It is especially important to keep your kids out of the stores as much as possible. Kids are impulse purchase magnets. So, don’t take your children into a store unless you absolutely have to. Enjoy a fun trip to your (free) local park instead.
Make sure to find inexpensive or free activities that you genuinely enjoy so that you will actually want to do them.
3. Shop with a list
Anytime you’re going into a store, make sure that you have a list of exactly what you need. This doesn’t just mean that you need a grocery list. Make a list of what you need if you have to shop at Target or your local pharmacy too.
You can write out a pencil and paper list or you can make a list on your phone using Evernote. It’s crucial that you actually remember to bring your list to the store. Otherwise, it’s not going to help you.
I like to group items together on my list by where they are in the store. So, to use my grocery list as an example, I group all the produce together and all of the freezer items together. This makes it easier to navigate the store and get everything I need.
Once you are inside the store, pull out your list. Head only to the areas of the store that have items on your list.
Do not let those impulse purchase sneak into your cart!
If it’s not on your list, don’t even look at it. Maybe that sounds extreme, but I promise it’s effective.
Put overspending behind you
These changes will probably feel challenging at first. With time and practice they will become habits and start to come naturally. By giving yourself a reason, no longer shopping for fun, and sticking to your list you will be able to tame your overspending.