I probably don’t even need to tell you how easy it is to overspend; I do it all the time. I went into Publix just yesterday for fresh salmon from the seafood counter, a loaf of fresh French bread and broccoli. I should have spent less than $20, but somehow I walked out of the store after spending more than $100 and I’m not even entirely sure what I bought. I do this all the time. I mean, all the time. It’s a bad habit that I’ve allowed myself to fall into and I cannot seem to find a way to stop. Did I mention that this was my third trip to Publix since Saturday and around $500 in spending in just that store alone (and we still have no groceries, it feels like)?
Overspending is easy with a capital E. We all do it, and it’s a budget-buster. I can sit here and say that I have no idea how I overspend, why I overspend and what my issue is, but I know the real issue. For me, it’s two things – a lack of planning and convenience. With four small kids who have swim lessons and gymnastics and cheerleading most every night of the week, we are rarely home from 4-8 pm – some nights later – and convenience wins out. As for a lack of planning, I always plan on drinking less wine and somehow do not. First world problems, I know.
Anyway, we all overspend. It recently occurred to me that there is a reason for it, even if we are too blinded by our own issues to notice. Perhaps your overspending, budget-busting issues are on this list and I can help you get yourself in gear financially a bit more. Want to find out? It can’t hurt.
Your Planning Skills Lack
A lack of plan is a plan to fail or something like that. I’m almost positive someone important said something along those lines meant to be quite informative and knowledgeable and genius, and I’m also positive I just made a mockery of what was said. Either way, though, a lack of planning is a great way to fail. Planning is key; especially when it comes to overspending. If you make a plan for your meals, make a menu and you make a detailed grocery list, you probably won’t need to stop at the store 67 times a week and spend too much each time.
If you plan for emergencies, you won’t find yourself in a situation in which one occurs and leaves you with no way to pay for it. It’s just simple; you plan, you succeed.
You Don’t Use Cash
When you don’t use cash, you typically overspend. I’m not even saying you use your credit card. When I use my debit card, I know I spend more than I need to or should at the store because it’s so convenient. I once read an article in which the woman who wrote it said she makes it a point to carry with her only the cash she needs to make a purchase – especially during one of those moments when she forgot something at the store and really only needs a gallon of milk or whatever – so she absolutely cannot spend more than she planned on spending.
I love that idea, but that means carrying cash that I will then use on something like coffee or donuts for the kids. That’s another area I need to do some work on. It’s so easy to stop for a latte or a blonde roast and not think much of spending only a few dollars here and there.
You Are Bored
Word. (I hate that phrase, but it’s so fitting here). When I’m bored, I shop. Sitting at the dentist while my kids get their teeth cleaned, I’m bored. Standing in line at the Publix sub shop waiting on my turn, I’m bored. Waiting in the pick-up line at school to get my kids, I’m bored. What do I do in these times of boredom? I shop. It’s a nasty habit, I know. But basically, we all tend to spend more money than we should when we are bored. I did that yesterday. I went into the store for a new rug and ended up leaving with four new Adirondack chairs for the back deck to place around the fire pit. Why? I had some time to kill while I waited for the lunch we ordered to be ready. Bored people need something better to do with our time – I know this. I’ve just yet to find something better to do with my time that peruse Lilly Pulitzer’s website for a new dress that I really don’t need.
We all overspend, but we can all get into the habit of not overspending if we get into the habit of being more aware of our surroundings, our moods and our life in general. I know that you don’t have time to make a weekly menu – I don’t either – but investing that time might mean saving a lot of money in the long run, and there is nothing wrong with that.
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