There are many reasons for overspending. Some people do it because they’re insecure and use possessions as comfort objects. Still others use acquiring new things as a quick pick-me-up if they’re feeling a bit low. Shopping gives you a buzz and is always great entertainment – window shopping is fun, but often leads to unnecessary purchases.
Sometimes people spend money to fill up a gap in their lives, or they buy things when they’re in emotional turmoil. If any of this applies to you, then you need to do something about it before your spending gets out of control and you’re relying on the infamous payday loan provider (wonga et al) so you can buy your weekly groceries…it’s the start of the classic debt spiral and that’s one rabbit hole you don’t want to go down.
Face up to your problem! You know you go on a splurge when you’re stressed at work, or you have relationship problems. So, when these issues rear their ugly heads, resolve not to make things worse by getting into debt. Remember the spectre of Wonga.com or CashCowNow? While not as bad as loan sharks, these companies can get you into that spiral of debt that’s hard to pull up from.
Keep yourself busy. If you’re bored, find cheap things to do. Find a few hobbies, or an inexpensive sport like power walking or running. Maybe start up an online shop of your very own, so that you can still go shopping for stock, but you’ll actually make money from it! Sites like ebay and maybe the slightly lesser known etsy make this easier than ever to do.
Give someone else a list and get them to shop for you. A man is best, as they are often eager to just get out of the store! This will stop you from being tempted to add one or two (or several) little knick-knacks that catch your eye.
Before you part with your cash for an item, think about how many hours it took you to earn it, and how much energy – this might dissuade you at the last minute. Another useful trick is to postpone the purchase by a few days. If you’re still thinking about it a few days later, then take it a bit more seriously. Chances are, you’ll have forgotten all about it.
Try out a budgeting tool, so you can keep track of your spending, and see it in black and white. This might act as a big incentive to rein in your cards.
Don’t get sucked in by sales. If you need it and it’s on sale – result! If you don’t need it, it’s just slightly less money down the drain. True fact! Buying next year’s Christmas presents in the January sales isn’t a bad idea, though, it has to be said. Same goes for cards and wrapping paper.
Do price comparisons. Try out generic versions of your regular purchases and only buy big brands once in a while. Very often, when people swap to generics, they realise they were throwing their money away on packaging and status.
If you’re on a spending roll, just go for it and cut up your credit cards. It’ll hurt, but studies show that people with no credit cards spend a lot less.