We all have spending vices. We’re not perfect. Whether it’s good food, brand name clothes, shoes, the latest electronic devices, lavish holidays – we all have overspent at one time or another or maybe often. The material things we bought may have given us some measure of happiness or a lot of happiness at first; however, with time that feeling of satisfaction often fades away until we make new purchases. It’s a horrible cycle that leaves a big hole in your pocket. What can you do to end the vicious cycle? TaxWise Accounting who wants their clients to enjoy life without the trap of being in serious debt because of overspending offers great advice on how to stop this terrible but all too common habit.
1. Don’t hide your head in the sand. Open your eyes to how much you are actually spending. When you see where you’re money is going, you’ll likely notice that you need to make little changes in your spending which will make a big difference in your savings.
Try this: For a week or even a few days, take dilligent notes on what you bought and how much you spent. You’ll probably be able to notice patterns in your spending that maybe you haven’t been paying attention to like how much you’re spending on that latte. For an even bigger picture of what you’re spending and how you’re spending it, write down what you bought or what activities you’ve spent on in a month.
2. Have cash on hand that you’ve budgeted for purchases or to pay for services instead of using a credit card. Forget your credit card at home. If whatever you want is over your budget, you won’t be tempted to buy it because you won’t have enough cash.
Try this: When you see something you’d like to buy, think about the following questions. Do I really need this? How will this affect my life longterm? How often will I use it? Does it need to be maintained often and how much will it cost to maintain? How much will it cost to fix? The answers to those questions will hopefully help you to not buy things in haste that later you will not use or will end up in your yard sale.
3. Identify what makes you spend. When you next go on a spree, write down what motivated you to do it. Is it emotional issues or just catchy advertising? Identifying the underlying causes can help you to avoid situations that lead you to overspending.
Try this: When tempted to buy something, remove yourself from the store that sells that product and walk away. Be resolved to not return to that store for a week. During that week hopefully you’ll notice the desire for buying that item will fade.
4. If you really need certain items like grocery items or certain pieces of clothing, make a list of those necessary items and make it your resolve to not put items in your cart that are not on the list. Make a mental map of where you’ll be finding those items in your grocery store so you won’t be spending a lot of time browsing different aisles that don’t have the items you need.
Try this: A lot of mainstream grocery stores now offer online shopping and delivery. Order your next grocery items online so that you’ll most likely buy only what you need. If you shop at the actual store, you’ll most likely grab a few things that catch your eye that wasn’t on your list to buy because it’s been placed in high traffic areas to attract people to buy them. Those few things not on your list can add up to a lot of money in the long run and damage the balance on your budget.