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Break the habit of overspending

There will be times where Chris and I are doing really well on our budget.  Then suddenly a bunch of stuff mounts up and we have overspent in loads of areas. Birthdays we forgot about, feeling to tired to cook so buying take-out. We've all been there before, but we have found ways that have really helped us to avoid overspending on our monthly budget.
Overspending is problematic in several ways. It can become a vicious cycle and addictive and lead to a downwards spiral towards a life that is filled with debt. It also has an effect psychologically it makes you feel frustrated and disappointed in your inability to stick to a budget. It brings an initial high (just after the purchase) followed by a low (when the reality of the situation has sunk in). This creates a cycle where the only way to get out of the low is to make another purchase.

Give yourself splurge money (pocket money).
If you make your budget too unforgiving especially by forgetting to factor in a little bit of splurge money you are more likely to go and blow the budget in other categories. Having a set amount to spend results in guilt free shopping where you are more likely to spend less.

Keep it realistic.
If you make your budget too restrictive too quickly you will find it really difficult to stick to the anounts you have set. Gradually decrease the amount you spend in different areas do that you feel less restricted by your budget.

Go shopping with a list.
Before you head out make a list of what you intend to buy. Evidence shows going out with a list means you are less likely to become enticed by special 'offers' or purchase unnecessary extras. This principles applies to all kind of shopping an not just groceries, and is even applicable when shopping online as it is about becoming focused and intentional in your purchases.

Know that the true deal is in not spending at all
Avoid being lured into special deals and being enticed to make purchases because you have a coupon. This is what the marketing companies are bargaining on, it is in their interests that you increase the amount you spend because you perceive that you are getting 'good value'. Use coupons wisely and not as a carte blanche to buy what you want.

Accountability buddy
Having a friend with you who will you hold you to account and make you stop and think before you make a purchase can be a huge help. This could be a friend, partner/spouse or parent. Whoever it is make your goal know and they can help you on the road to achieving. If you haven't yet fully accepted the nature of you overspending habit then having a friend can help you understand where you are overspending and help you see the situation through new eyes.

Sleep on it
So you see something amazing online or inshore and your just hankering to buy it. But do you really need it, does it really fit into your budget. Take a step back from the situation, go home and sleep on the idea for a few nights and then reassess the situation. Do you still think you need/want to buy it, does it really work out in your budget try to reflect on the potential purchase rather than acting on 'in the moment emotions'. This allows you to take a more balanced reasoning approach towards your purchase making.

Stay out of the store
Do you have a store that every time you go in you buy something a shop where you 'need' everything inside. Avoid aimlessly shopping in these kinds of store and often the best way to do this is to avoid even going in the shop. Don't make shopping your hobby.

How do you overcome the temptations to overspend?

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  1. The true deal is not spending at true! It's tempting to act fast before the deal is over (you are right, that's how they want you to feel), but much smarter to choose not to spend if it is at all possible.

  2. This is a really good list. We always want to go out to eat more than we should. I increased our budget for eating out for March so that it's a bit more realistic. Hopefully now we can stick to it!

  3. Sleeping on it, having a waiting period, or not spending at all on a deal are all good ways to stick to your budget. Most of the time that feeling of wanting something seem to fade away in a few days.

  4. It is terrible how it always seems to snowball -you fall off the wagon with a little overspending and then it's so easy to just keep on down that path. These are great tips for getting back on track!

  5. Good tips! Especially the ' Keep it realistic' one. When you set a budget you can get carried away in your enthusiasm, making it almost impossible to stick with it. Nothings kills motivation like an impossible task.