How do you bring yourself back when you’re consistently over budget — what changes do you make, on either a small or large scale, to control your spending? We’ve talked about how to set a budget, as well as how to live within your means, but we haven’t talked about that thing that everyone needs to do from time to time: rein yourself in when you’re spending more than you want to. There are two sides of this coin, I suppose. First, maybe you’re spending too much and sending yourself into the red — credit card debt is climbing, other bills are going unpaid, etc. Second, maybe you’re still spending within your means, but you just feel like you’re out of control — maybe you were raised with a more limited budget, or maybe you just know you can save a lot more than you are right now. Either way, the question is the same: how do you stop spending? (Pictured: Moyna Dollar Sign Pouch, available at ShopBop for $40.80 (on sale from $51).
I’ve done a number of things through the years, including:
- Really scrutinizing my credit card bill, maybe even categorizing my spending into categories — doing it by hand makes me appreciate it more than just seeing it on Mint.
- Getting rid of charges — particularly recurring ones — that I think I need but really am not using (particularly if I can sign up again without fuss). I was amazed when I returned to Netflix after a two year hiatus to find that my queue was still in tact.
- Getting rid of “lazy” expenses. In my law firm days, I took a cab to work almost every day because I didn’t want to spend the extra 20 minutes it took to take the subway.
- Focusing on a daily budget. For example, if I’ve said I don’t want to spend more than $X each day, and I know I’m already slated to meet friends for dinner or otherwise spend money that day, I may defer my online purchases to the next day.
- Trying to find other outlets beyond my credit card. I tend to be a bit of a stress spender, and sometimes going for a run or getting an extra hour of sleep is what I need more than that new blouse or that Starbucks latte. Sometimes you may need to do a bit of self analysis (or, hey, therapy) to figure out why you’ve lost control. (We’ve talked about ways to relax before, as well as how to control hormone-related stress.)
Readers, what have you done to try to control you spending? How do you rein yourself in?