Whether you have a minor problem with overspending or a full-blown shopping addiction, poorly managed finances can easily wreak havoc on your budget. It can be difficult to save money, contribute towards goals, pay off debt, and just take care of general expenses. If you feel that you’re continuously wasting money and you think you might have a spending problem, try the following tips:
Create and examine your budget
If you haven’t already, create a budget that outlines all of your bills, expenses, and optional spending. Assign the amount that you think you’re spending or that you should be spending, and then go through past credit card and bank statements to find out how much you’re really spending. This can give you a clear picture as to where your money is actually going each month, and if you have a spending problem, doing this could be a real eye-opener and show that changes will need to be made quickly.
Don’t make excuses
If you know that your spending is truly out of control and beyond excessive, take action towards cutting back, rather than making excuses to find alternative solutions. For example, finding ways to cut down in other parts of your budget or ways to save extra cash in order to have more shopping money isn’t the ideal answer. Sure, saving extra cash and making more money are good goals to aim for—but if you don’t address a serious spending problem, it’s money that you could just end up wasting.
Plan your purchases
Make a list of reasonable goals and purchases you want to make, and certain dates that you hope to make the purchases by. For example, if you decide one day that you want to update your television, find one that meets your needs and is affordable, based on your budget. Figure out how much you’ll want to save from each paycheck and pick a date for your purchase. If you meet your savings goal by that date, allow yourself to make the purchase guilt-free. If you’re used to purchasing things on a whim, making this list and sticking to it can help you curb those impulse purchases. It also gives you time to think about costly purchases, and by the time you’re ready to actually make the purchase, you may have forgotten all about it or changed your mind.
Identify the underlying problem
If your spending is excessive, there could be an underlying issue at hand. Maybe you’re dealing with something personal that’s affecting you deeply, and you’re not properly facing your feelings. Instead, you’re avoiding the real problem by shopping or buying things to make yourself feel better. This isn’t always the case with everyone that has a spending problem, but it’s important to admit it to yourself if this could be the culprit. You’ll need to identify and face that underlying problem head on if you want to take a step towards fixing it.
Seek healthier solutions
Once you know what’s really bothering you, you can find other ways to get past it or deal with it. Find healthier solutions that can be just as therapeutic, if not more so. Try exercise, meditation, or therapy, all of which could be great options. Simply taking a small amount of time out of your day to just relax can be all you need to de-stress and avoid turning to unhealthy habits, such as overspending.
Ask for help
It can be easier to get your spending under control if you ask loved ones to help you out. You could explain the problem to a friend or family member, and ask someone to come along with you the next time you go shopping to help keep things in perspective. If you’ve been hiding purchases and credit card statements from your spouse, it may be time to come clean and ask your partner for their help as well.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.