4 Positive Steps to Overcome the Habit of Overspending

One of the biggest hurdles people need to overcome that contributes to debt is overspending. Someone can excel at being frugal in certain areas of their budget and keep their bills to a minimum, but still manage to regularly waste money on things they don't need.

The good news is that overspending is a habit that can be broken, and you can develop a pattern of saving money instead of spending it unnecessarily. Here are 4 positive steps to take to overcome the habit of overspending.

1. Analyze areas in which you typically overspend, and think about why you made those purchases.

When it comes to budgeting, people often recommend looking at the amount spent on nonessential items or services, and that is definitely beneficial. However, it is equally important to recognize what motivated you to make those purchases.

For instance, if your credit card bill shows you spent $300 last month on fast food, ask yourself why you chose to go through a drive-thru or grab take-out instead of preparing food or eating at home. Was it because you didn't pack a lunch for work? Were you craving a chicken sandwich? Did you feel exhausted and too tired to cook? Did you need to go grocery shopping?

So take a look at your recent statements, and jot down the types of things you've purchased unnecessarily, along with the reasons that drove you to make those purchases.

2. Find more frugal ways to fulfill your desire to spend on nonessential items.

Now that you've considered what factors influenced you to spend money on nonessential things, try to find less expensive solutions to overspending.

For example, if you wasted money on fast food due to craving those types of foods, try planning and shopping for ingredients to make quick and easy meals similar to what you purchased. These ingredients can be added to your shopping list in addition to the types of food you normally buy for the house. If you're worried about buying unhealthy food for your home, search online for healthier, (but still easy,) versions of the fast-food recipes you've been eating. Chances are they'll be a lot healthier than what you've been getting from the drive-thru, and you'll definitely save money.

If you find yourself spending money because you're bored, consider taking up a new fun hobby or skill that is more cost-effective. There are lots of activities that once you have the basic equipment or supplies, you can learn how to do them online for free or very cheap.

3. Look for ways to make overspending less of a temptation.

After finding ways to meet your 'wants' in a less expensive way, you also want to make it less likely you'll be tempted to overspend.

Taking your card information off of websites or apps you tend to overspend on will take away the convenience of purchasing something nonessential with a single click. You can also unsubscribe from sales emails from stores where you tend to purchase things that aren't necessities.

If you typically overbuy snacks or grab fast food because you're hungry, make sure you always eat before you leave the house or bring something with you

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4. Allow some room in your budget for things you want.

For most people, eliminating all nonessential purchases is simply not realistic, and can make it hard for them to actually stick to their budget. So instead, allow a certain dollar amount or percentage in your budget for 'wants' and impulse buying. This way you don't feel restricted from spontaneously buying something you want, but it will also limit how much you are spending, so you don't overspend. And after implementing the other 3 steps outlined here, you'll be in a better position to actually stay within the limits you set.

So those are 4 positive steps to overcome the habit of overspending. By analyzing the reasons you overspend, looking for less expensive solutions to meeting your 'wants', making overspending less of a temptation, and allowing room in your budget for some things you want, you can successfully break the pattern of overspending beyond your budget.