Nobody likes to talk about it, but a lot of people struggle with a spending problem. Excess spending can happen almost on accident: a few purchases here, a late-night online shopping session there, and all of a sudden your bank account is a source of anxiety. These spending habits can put us further and further away from our financial goals.
Use these three steps to curtail your money spending before it gets you into too much trouble!
Symptoms of a Spending Problem:
- You feel guilty when you spend money – even if it’s on legitimate purchases.
- You might joke about having a shopping addiction—but it might not be a joke after all.
- You find it difficult to save money.
- You lie to your spouse about how much you’ve spent and find yourself hiding purchases.
- You have increasing amounts of credit card debt and/or overdraw your checking account.
- You don’t know how much money you’ve spent on clothes, food, entertainment, etc.
Is It Possible to Stop Out-of-Control Money Spending?
Yes! You can learn to stop spending money. If you’re experiencing any one or a combination of those symptoms listed above, you need to do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and implement these three steps to curb your money spending problem.
1. Talk About Your Spending Problem
If you’re married, you need to talk about it with your spouse. If you aren’t married, talk about it with a good friend and/or confidant. When you openly talk about your excess spending with someone you trust, you will feel better. You’ll be able to transfer a bit of the burden from your shoulders.
It can be especially hard to go to a spouse to talk about money problems if you’ve been hiding things from them. You really must, though! You will need to sincerely apologize for your actions and also express a true desire to get things right and work out a plan to curtail this in the future. Give your spouse time to forgive you, but patiently expect them to do so.
2. Create a Budget
Now, you don’t need to write down every single purchase you make from today until forever. When you have a money spending problem, the gist of it is that you don’t make a conscious, mental connection between what you take in (income) and what goes out (expenses).
You could be living paycheck to paycheck but tend to get caught up in the moment of the purchase, be it from peer pressure or the thrill of a great “sale” you might see. Usually you experience some buyer’s remorse, but that can be quickly rationalized.
When you create a budget you become accountable to yourself. It is almost magical what happens – you spend less money. This will not solve your problem with over-spending money completely, but it will put you well on your way.
It is vital that you track everything. If you don’t want to have to track it, then don’t spend it.
Also, just because you possibly use plastic, like a credit or debit card, for purchases does not mean it’s already being “recorded” for you. That’s not the point of writing down your purchases. The bank does a good enough job of tracking transactions. You want to make a mental accountability connection when you spend money, and that can only happen when you’ve made the special effort to write it down.
3. Plan to Spend Money
Number three deals mainly with possible guilt you feel when you spend money. It’s quite possible for people to feel guilty buying milk, eggs, or paying the electricity! This should not be so! As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t feel guilty for any single purchase you make. The best way to enjoy guilt-free spending is to plan to spend.
Using some type of personal budgeting system will go a long way in helping you in the planning process of your finances. If you are married, it is vital that you plan what you will spend with your spouse. It must be a combined effort done by both of you, where purchases are agreed upon before they are made.
You shouldn’t feel guilty for any single purchase you make.
You will not be able to plan every expenditure you make. That’s just the way life is. However, once you have written down what you spend, you’ll begin to get a pretty good idea of what you need to plan for. Sure, emergencies come up and you’ll overspend what you originally planned. You just need to remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, and that life goes on.
A money spending problem can be serious. Compulsive spending can destroy marriages, cause bankruptcy, and seriously impair your ability to live the way you really want to live. If you have a problem with spending a lot of money, implement these three steps to get started in the right direction.
Want a bootcamp-like challenge to stop your spending problem in its tracks? Join the 34-Day Reset and you’ll be limited to spending on only essentials in a month-long sprint.