Dealing with debt and curbing your overspending


Do you struggle when dealing with debt? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to curb your overspending. Certainly the burden of debt can be stressful. Surely life would be easier if you could find a way to reduce your debt burden? The problem is where do you start?

If you’re serious about dealing with debt then a good start point is to take a close look at what you’re spending. There are things you must have like a roof over your head, heating and light, and food on the table. Then there are those things you buy that you really could live without. Even for things you must have you can often overspend on these items in you’re not careful.

It is a fact that overspending is one of the main reasons why people get themselves into debt. You’re in the shopping mall or on the internet and you see something that is so tempting and you can’t help yourself. Buying is so easy with your credit card and so you do without considering whether you really need it or whether you can truly afford it.

Well that’s a habit you must change if ever want to be in control of your money and your life. Yes, it is a hard habit to break if it’s been part of the way you live your life for so long. That’s understandable but it’s not impossible. It can be done and it’s an important step on the road to dealing with debt.

So here are a few simple steps to help you to stop spending, start saving and live a life geared toward achieving financial freedom.

1. Admit you have a problem

The first step to curb your overspending habit is to admit that you have a problem. You can’t eliminate a problem until you recognize you have one.

Once you admit to yourself that you have a problem then you need to understand where your money is going. Unless you make a point of identifying where your money is going then it will simply disappear without you knowing where it’s gone.

Keep a journal to record your spending on a daily basis to keep track of everything you spend. Write it down and at the end of each week review what you’ve spent and where your money has gone. You might find that this is a real eye–opener for you.

With this approach you will be able to see what you’re spending on stuff that may not be absolutely necessary. Then it will be easier to develop a clear and concise spending plan whereby you start living within our means. Having a plan can then be the basis by which you start developing the self-discipline to allow you to break your overspending habit.

2. Make financial goals

In developing your spending plan you must also set some realistic financial goals for you and, assuming you have one, your family.

One goal should be to ‘pay yourself first’. What does this mean? It means as soon as you get paid you set a small proportion of your income aside immediately. You could set aside say 10% of your income. That can be used to reduce your debt burden initially and later, when your situation has improved, for savings each month.

By setting money aside when you get paid, it’s a bit like taxes and other deductions against you pay. They all get taken off and you get used to living on what’s left. Putting something aside is an important part of any personal financial spending plan.

Keep your financial goals in mind each and every time you’re tempted to make an impulse purchase or overspend on something you can live without. This will encourage you to make better spending decisions.

And when you’ve reached one of your financial goals, don’t forget to give yourself a little reward. Don’t go overboard of course but achieving a goal will make the reward all the sweeter and it will encourage you in the development of good money habits.

3. Cut up your credit cards

Credit cards can be a convenient medium for making payments but they can also be weapons of mass wealth destruction. When you have a serious debt problem don’t take a credit card out shopping.

Yes, they are a big part of today’s culture and it is might seem hard to imagine life without one. However studies have shown that people spend a larger amount when using a credit card because it doesn’t register with them that they are spending real money. And that’s why they are dangerous.

Essentially using a credit card is simply postponing the inevitable. It is actually real money and eventually the bill for your purchases will have to be paid.

So take the impulse out of shopping and start planning for purchases ahead of time by saving up the cash. You will be surprised at how much you save by not using plastic.

4. Seek out support

When you’re trying to break a habit, it is important to surround yourself with good people who will encourage you and steer you in the right direction when you’re tempted.

That means when you’re going shopping make sure you take someone with you who’s not afraid to remind you that you don’t need whatever it is you’re thinking of buying. Someone you trust who will be your conscience, if you like. Someone who knows your aims and will help you achieve them.

If there is someone who will hold you accountable for your actions, who forces you to recognize your bad habits then this will make your financial goals much easier to accomplish.

5. Take up a hobby

Our shopping habits often stem from the fact that we are simply bored. This is particularly true with shopping online. You’re sitting at home bored so you pick up your iPad or similar tablet and start browsing. Sites like Amazon are very good at closing a sale once they’ve got you. It’s all so tempting. And we’re all guilty of impulse shopping on the internet, at least to some degree.

So next time you’re bored, find something else to do. You could take a walk, go to the gym for some exercise, watch a film, read a book, you could set up a blog and share your thoughts with the world or perhaps just volunteer to help a charity. There are plenty of other possibilities, so just do something other than shopping that appeals to you.

In short, take up a hobby or two and keep your money in the bank.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list but these few tips should help you to curb your overspending and develop better habits with money. If you change your ways you can start winning with money.

Don’t try to ‘boil the ocean’ just take small steps on a daily basis and this will help you kick your impulsive shopping habits. You need to start thinking about where your money is going and where you’d like it to be.

Start today and you’ll be a smart shopper in no time. With a little self-discipline you can go from being a complete spendthrift to becoming a super-saver quicker than you ever thought possible. Become a super-saver and one day you will achieve financial freedom. Achieve that and your life will be a lot sweeter and a lot less stressful.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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