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Break the Spending Habit

A woman feeling better after breaking her spending habit.

How do we get into a habit of overspending? Often it starts off as a small extra expense like a bit more on clothes last month or a trip just over budget this month, but these things can build and build – and if you’re overspending every month, it’s easy to get into debt.

Personal debt can be caused by overspending, and it can be a difficult cycle to break. Each month we think we’ll be back on track next month, but it doesn’t happen – and this is when we can get into a difficult place financially.

If you’re in a situation where you’re struggling with debts, you may want to consider a Debt Management Plan (DMP). It’s a flexible, informal solution that is specific to you and your circumstances.

We want to treat ourselves well and allow ourselves some lenience but there are healthy ways to spend. Let’s have a look at ways to stop overspending and how to spend in the right mindset.

Firstly, it’s helpful to define the root cause of your spending habit – what triggers your need to spend?

Write it down

A good way to do this is to use a diary to write down every time you feel like you’re overspending. Write down:

  • How much you spent
  • On what
  • Why you needed it
  • And how you were feeling that day

Often, we use a credit card or store card to purchase things we can’t currently afford. This might feel justifiable at the time, so write down why you felt you needed it.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) has recently become an option to get what you want without paying straight away. However, this can be seen as overspending as well. Just because the money hasn’t come out of your account this month doesn’t mean you’re not spending above your means, and it will affect you in the long run.

It’s also worth writing down your financial goals – then you have a clear understanding of what you’re aiming for and a realistic time in which to achieve it.

Identify feelings

The reason for writing all these mundane details down is to find a pattern. What makes you want to overspend? Maybe when you’re not feeling great, you want to treat yourself – that’s fine, we all deserve self-care. But think about ways of making yourself good without breaking the bank.

Here are our top self-care tips that are cheap or free:

Take a nice, long bath or shower

Cook your favourite comfort meal

Watch some comedy or childhood classic films

It’s a cliché but take a walk – it does help!

Go through your wardrobe and find all the clothes you never wear, maybe you can style something new

There are many reasons we may overspend and a cycle like this can be hard to break. If you’re overspending has led to debt, things may feel even more unmanageable. But you’re not alone. Companies like ours offer DMPs that can help you to get back on track with your finances, and even help you to start putting money back into your savings account.

Break the pattern

This is the hard part. Once you’ve identified the cause, it’s time to find a way to change. Being aware of your emotions in the moment can be difficult, but hopefully, with the help of your diary, you’ll be able to notice when certain feelings arise. If you feel like you want to get online and buy something you don’t need, try to distract yourself with something else.

A tried and tested method therapists often recommend to help break unhealthy habits is to use an elastic band. Simply place this around your wrist and when you feel the urge to spend unnecessarily on your credit card or otherwise, snap it so it creates discomfort. The idea is to retrain your mind to associate this with overspending.

Don’t fancy that? You could call a friend or relative, go for a walk, watch a TV show. There are lots of different ways to break the spending habit.

Spending mindset

When should we be spending?

You can’t stop spending altogether – firstly, there are things we need in life, and secondly, we all need and deserve a little bit more than the bare necessities. If you draw up a monthly budget, try and put aside some extra cash for the small luxuries. Depriving yourself can also be detrimental for your wallet because it may mean you end up splurging more as you’ve gone without for so long.

Spend when you’re calm, in your normal frame of mind, and know you can afford it.

Have you been overspending?

The biggest risk with spending too much each month is getting into debt. If you’ve found yourself in debt from overspending or for any reason, we may be able to help you. A Debt Management Plan could be a viable option to allow you to pay off your debts in one affordable payment – and pave the way for you to reach your future financial goals.

Apply for Debt Help

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