Do you find yourself accumulating a bigger balance on your credit card every month? When you often spend more than you can afford, it could be a sign that you have an overspending habit. Overspending can cripple you financially and hold you back from reaching your long-term financial goals, but the good news is that you do not have to resign yourself to chronic overspending.
Tips to Break Bad Spending Habits
- Track your spending to track your bad habits. It is hard to solve a problem if you do not even know you have a problem. If you suspect you’ve been overspending, keep a log of all spending for a week, or even better, a month. Note what you bought and how much it cost, and then add up categories at the end of your week or month.
- Decide what you would rather be spending on. It helps to have a tangible financial goal to focus on when you have the urge to spend on things that are going to block you from reaching your goal. You may decide you want to pay off a credit card, build an emergency fund, get on track with retirement savings, save for a house, or take a dream vacation.
- Budget how much you will spend in each category. It is often difficult to go cold turkey and stop spending entirely, and some amount of spending can be appropriate for your lifestyle and helpful for your mood and well-being. Therefore, decide how much you would like to be spending in each category of purchases. You can budget these amounts per month or pay period, depending on what makes more sense to you.
- Check in regularly to track your progress. Even if you think you have a foolproof budgeting system it’s important to continually track your actual spending of every penny to make sure you are not letting continued bad habits go unnoticed. Consider using an app like Mint.com or Albert.com to help you keep your budgets.
- Get on the same page with your significant other. If you are married and manage your money together, your individual efforts may not be able to change your joint finances if your spouse just spends the money instead. Sit down together to talk about your spending habits and resolve to work together to cure any overspending habits you discover.