Some of us spend a few dollars here and there and realized later that we overspent. Don't beat up yourself. It happens. Rest assured you can learn how to stop overspending money.
I mean, with so many ways to shop and so many deals to choose from, it is so easy to buy things we don't need. That's why it's hard to stop spending money.
Well, there's a way out. Actually, there are several ways to control your spending habits.
If you are ready to learn these tips and tricks: Read on!
Here's a fact: Americans have over $13 trillion in debt and it's growing day by day.
How to Stop Overspending Money
Here are a few tips to finally stop overspending what you have right now. These tips will help you learn how to save money, set aside funds for your future, and get you back on track.
1. Create a budget (one that fits you)
Your first step should be to establish a budget.
You can do this by writing down your monthly income and expenses in a spreadsheet to give you a holistic view of your finances. Jot down which expenses are necessities and which aren’t
From there, plan to stick within your necessary expenses each month.There are also some budgeting apps that can help you get started if the idea of working with a spreadsheet is intimidating.
Some of the budgeting apps you can use include the following. I call any one of them as a stop spending money app:
- YNAB – helps you strategize on how to use last month's income for this current month
- Trim – analyzes your spending patterns and negotiates bills on your behalf
- Charlie – provides helpful tools like a spending tracker to helo you limit much you spend on specific expense categories
If you want to find ways to save money on a tight budget, check out the link to the left.
2. Switch to cash (no cards, please)
Stop using credit cards. Just by using cash or a cash-budgeting system, you're forcing yourself into using the cash you have and nothing else.
When you're cash is out, then, you don't spend anything else. That's one good way to learn how to stop overspending.
You can implement the cash-budgeting system in different ways:
- By envelopes – use a few envelopes, each of which is designated for specific expense category.
- By one envelope – alternatively, you can keep all your expense money in one envelope and take money out from there when you need to.
3. Forget credit and debit cards
Literally, forget the fact that you have those cards. Imagine that you all have is cash and you're only limited to that.
This means, that you won't be able to shop online, which nowadays is a big reason that people are overspending.
If you do have your credit card information saved in your computer for easy checkout, you may want to delete it. Sure, it's convenient to have your card info ready, but that's a recipe for instant purchase (i.e., a recipe for purchase you may not necessarily need).
If you have your card numbers memorize, cancel your current cards and request for new ones.
4. Divert your money somewhere else
I'm not saying you spend your money on or need to be buying something else every day.
What I mean is that you deposit your money or checks in a savings account that you won't easily touch.
Better yet, when you are getting a paycheck from your job, do a direct deposit. When you do this, divert a good portion of your money to an account you won't touch.
Think of it as if you're getting paid less when in fact you are saving that money.
5. Spend and splurge on things you love (sometimes)
Sure, the best way to learn how to stop spending money is to not spend it. That said, give yourself a break from time to time.Just like when you're on a diet and have a cheat meal or day when you can eat what you want, you can and should spend (sometimes) on things you like.
If you like to eat out, save some cash towards that or even load a prepaid card just for that. It's ok to reward yourself because you deserve it.
6. Challenge yourself from time to time
Try to challenge yourself from time to time.
For example, if you're spending $400 per month on groceries, you could try to cut $50 on your grocery bill next month. When you're successful, try to cut it again and see if you can achieve it.
You'll be surprised how easily you can do this.
Things You Need To Stop Overspending Money On Every Month
The ways I am listing here are some of the common ways you are wasting your money even without knowing it. I, for one, am guilty of doing some of these things but I have been working on getting better at not wasting money.
1. Excessive food
Stop wasting so much money on buying a lot of food. Some of us are guilty of wasting food.
I know I waste food by not using all the vegetables and other foods I have in the fridge. When I say waste, what I mean is that I unintentionally let them go expired or spoiled because I forgot to use them or they’re way at the back of my fridge that I forget that I bought them.Some of us don’t eat leftovers or don’t eat all the food we have on our plates. We say that we’d keep the leftovers and eat them later but we don’t.
Recommendation: Create a meal plan and list down all the ingredients. This way, you exactly know what and how much you need.
In addition, know your limits and avoid cooking too much and putting a lot of food on your plate when you know you can’t consume them all at once. If you do have leftovers, you can always use them for lunch at work or use them to create some other dishes.
I am a proponent of investing even when, sometimes, the stock market crashes and is going in the opposite direction than what I hope it goes. I have always believed that long-term investing can potentially increase the value of your investing.
I have been investing actively in the past couple of years. Since the day I first started, my investment’s value has tripled. Had I put my money in my bank account, I would be losing money because the interest rate has been far lower than the inflation rate.
That being said, I don’t recommend people to just invest for the sake of investing. If you are investing just for the sake of investing and are just losing money, then, stop investing. You are just wasting money, time, and effort.
Recommendation. When investing, you need to understand your goals, limitations, and risk tolerance.
You also need to understand the fees associated with investing. Different investment brokerages charge different fees. The same goes for mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, etc., that is, they charge different fees.
For those who don't have much to invest, I highly recommend Acorns. You can invest as little as $0.01 through Acorns. Acorns will roundup your purchase and invest your spare change. For example, you purchased an item for $9.59.
Acorns will round it up to $10.00 and invest the difference, $0.41, to various ETFs? It invests your spare change automatically. If you sign up via this link, you will get $5 BONUS. With Acorns, who says investing is difficult and costly? Not me.
3. Unnecessary clothing
A lot of people like to wear new clothing from time to time. It is indeed a temptation to buy new clothes when there are holiday sales or big sales just because clothes are at a deep discount.
Stop wasting money on too many clothes.Some people would argue that they are buying clothes on a discount and that they are saving money doing this. They may say that they will find a use for these clothes later on and it is better to buy them now.
Coming from personal experience, most of these purchases tend to go used, buried in the closet, storage room, or somewhere or get lost and nowhere to be found later on.
Recommendation. My advice is sweet and straightforward. Only buy what you need and buy them when they’re on sale. Don’t buy things because you think you can find a purpose to use them. Buy things because you need or will need them.
Click here to find other ways to save money on children's clothes.
4. Transportation (i.e., gas)
Driving is way too convenient especially when you live in an area where there is smooth traffic. We drive from point A to point B to point C or just about anywhere. We go back and forth to different stores or shops just because we forget to get the important things.
I, personally, am guilty of wasting gas. Because I live in a quiet, no-traffic area, I tend to just jump into the car and drive to get what my family needs.
I would drive from home to the store to just get a gallon of milk when I should have thought about buying one in the first place when we did our shopping a couple of days ago.
Recommendation. Resist the urge to go out to buy an item here and there unless such item is something that needs to be had right away. In addition, if you live in a busy city where public transportation is reliable, use it if it saves you money.
Using public transportation can or will save you money both in gas and maintenance costs. Plus, you are helping the environment by not leaving an additional carbon footprint caused by your vehicle.
Stop wasting money and start using public transportation.
5. Credit cards and other forms of debt
Stop wasting money on paying your credit cards specifically the interest, penalties, and other charges associated with your cards. Don't be among those people who collectively have over $1 trillion in credit card debt.
Credit cards can be your best friend. If you use them right, you can earn cash back, points, etc. Having said that, credit cards can be your worst enemy and can bring you a lot of problems.
My wife and I have earned more than $2,000 in rewards and cash back from credit cards these past few years. We pay off our bills using our cards and pay our cards off on time. By doing this, we don’t pay interest on the outstanding balance and we are also earning money.
In general, many people tend to just pay the minimum or minimum plus some on their credit cards.
Unfortunately, credit card interest on unpaid outstanding balance comes into play. The interest you get charged doesn’t go to your pocket. It goes to the credit card company’s pockets.If you only pay the interest and keep on charging on your cards, you will see that it will take you forever to pay your outstanding balances because of interest charges.
Recommendation. Never use your credit cards if you are not able to pay off the balance on time. As my wife says, if you can’t pay in full in cash, then, you shouldn’t even use your credit cards.
If you do need to use them, make sure to pay them off as soon as you can. This way, the interest charge is not a lot.
Stop wasting money on toys.
As parents, we want our kids to have whatever we can give them. We want them to have great or better lives than what we had or have had. A lot of people shower their kids with things that they really don’t need.
I’m glad that my daughter’s pediatrician is as frugal as my wife and I are. He always says that technology gadgets or toys don’t make kids much smarter than those who don’t have them. Of course, some people will argue the opposite. But I agree with her pediatrician.
My wife and I grow up without using the technologies we have now and we had back then. But we came out smart and did not miss anything because we didn’t have what other people had.
Maybe it’s just my wife and me, but we believe that kids can still learn the great things in life (i.e. values, knowledge, and skills) without having too much intervention by toys, technologies, etc.
Recommendation. It is difficult to not succumb into buying the things out in the market especially when kids like to have those things. But I recommend to stay grounded and to resist the urge to buy kids toys. Instead, play with them, spend time with them, go out to the park or playground, etc.
These are simple but highly valuable ways to help your children become smarter, happier, and more skillful.
Stop wasting money on expensive cars.
There’s a certain notion that when you have a nice and expensive car that you have money. For some, having a nice car boosts their confidence and improves how other people perceive them.
For me, a car is a car. A car doesn’t have to be expensive to meet your needs. If it helps me to go from point A to point B, then, that’s good enough. Of course, there are other exceptions. If you are in the car business, then, it may not look good if potential buyers see you in a not-so-good looking car.
But for those average Joes like me, a car with basic features could be enough to satisfy the needs.
Remember that expensive cars tend to have expensive maintenance costs attached to them.
Recommendation. Don’t keep up with the Joneses. You are just wasting money by doing that.
Simplicity doesn’t mean being cheap. Car is a necessity (for the most part). Think of the potential savings you’ll have if you choose a not-so-expensive but reliable car that meets your needs than a car that could or will drain your bank account because of monthly payment and maintenance costs.
8. Big houses
Just like nice, expensive cars, there’s also a sense of pride and elation when you have a big house. Frankly speaking, a lot of people feel successful when they have big houses. I know several people who feel that way.
Nowadays, the typical size of a house is above 2,000 square feet. Some may say that it’s a decent size and some think that it’s not for a 5-member family. Either way, people can make arguments on either side and still make a good, convincing case.
Many people buy house that is bigger than what they need. Some of my friends have big houses and some of them admit that they got a bigger house than what they initially needed.
A house is a necessity. I should say that a dwelling whether it’s a house, apartment, or condominium is a necessity. But a bigger house than what you need? Well, it may not always be a necessity.
Recommendation: Always go back to the question of “ Is a bigger house a necessity?”. This means that it may be in your best interest to buy a house with the size that you need.
There are financial responsibilities of having a house especially when it’s a big house. Think of the mortgage payments, interest payments, home insurance, repair and maintenance costs, etc. You don’t and shouldn’t spend most of your hard-earned money on the house.
You could always use your money for better purposes such as funding your kids’ education, putting money into your investment accounts, etc.
Final Thoughts: How To Stop Spending Money on Unnecessary Things
The reality is we don't have to live an extravagant life to have a good life. In short, we can stop spending money (too much of it) without putting a break in our lives.
The key to not overspending is to create balanced, better money habits or cut back on things you don't really need. Have this mindset every month.
Remember, you don't have to do it alone. There are so many products and services (like a bank account) out there that can help you with your goal of not overspending money.
It's now time for you to save money.
What do you think is considered as a necessity? What other things that you think you need to stop wasting money on? Do you feel like there's a need for you to spend less now? Are you ready to stop spending money?