Master The Art Of Not Splurging With These 6 Tips
You begin the month with a promise that you would save a decent amount. You manage to control your spending urges for a good part of the month. However, before you know it, one slip-up happens and you end up splurging more than you had intended. If you can relate to this, you are not alone.
There are many people who wish they knew an effective way to manage their expenses. Despite their best efforts, they give in to their urges and spend more than intended. Here are a few tips that can help you control your spending within limits.
• Know your triggers
Overspending could be due to an underlying emotional or psychological issue. Each individual is different and has a different spending trigger. Before you set out on the path to saving, you need to figure out your trigger. You could be spending due to boredom, instant gratification or certain environments. A lot of people channelize their anxiety and stress in shopping. Others may find it difficult to control themselves in flea markets, home stores or fashion boutiques. To start off, you need to identify your triggers. Once you have done that successfully, you need to come up with a plan to avoid them. For example – If you find yourself browsing through online shopping sites when bored, think of other ways to kill the mood like reading a book or cooking.
• Prepare a budget
Budgeting and staying within your budget can solve many financial problems. Managing your expenses without a budget is like setting towards a goal without a plan. A budget will help you define your lifestyle. Otherwise, you may end up spending more and get used to a lifestyle beyond your means. For an effective budget, you need to first decide the amount that you need to save. It is always wise to save first and spend the rest. If you find it hard to do this, you can transfer the amount in a different bank account. You can also choose to lock-in your money in an investment product. There are several budgeting apps that can help you if you are not great with spreadsheets.
• Avoid credit cards
There are several downsides to using credit cards for your purchases. One thing is that you seldom track your expenses when you use your credit cards. At the end of the month, you get taken aback when you receive your statement and have to pay the credit card bill. Put your credit card aside for emergencies and start paying for your expenses in cash. When you step out to visit a mall or a grocery store, anticipate your expenses and take that amount in cash. You have better chances of not going overboard with your spending if you are transacting in cash.
• Develop a hobby
Earlier people would shop only during festivals or special occasions. That was partly because they had lesser means and other modes of entertainment. These days, people either go out to eat or to a mall over the weekend. That has become their chosen way to spend free time. You can develop a more productive hobby like painting or reading. These days people with similar interests get together and form a club. They meet up to discuss and indulge in their interests. Try joining such a group or call over your friends for board games. Such activities will not only save money but will also relieve your stress.
• Prepare shopping rules
Prepare a list of rules that you will abide by when you buy something. One rule could be to wait at least 48 hours when you like something. Giving yourself this window will help you realize if you really need to buy that thing. Sometimes you may not want it as much when you visit the store the second time. Sometimes you will realize you already own a similar thing. The second rule could be to save an amount equal to what you are spending. This rule will stop you from buying things that are not in your budget. Another rule could be to let go of one thing you own when you buy something new.
• Reward yourself
It is important to reward yourself if you manage to stay within your budget. You can give yourself a little extra cash to spend on whatever you like. Allow yourself to visit a home store if that interests or sign up for a trek if you like traveling. It will create positive reinforcement for your mind. This way you will subconsciously learn to save as per your budget to get that reward in the following month. After all, strictness never really works for anything, whether dieting or shopping.
Overspending and shopping beyond your means is an outcome of several triggers. Once you figure out these, controlling yourself will become easier.