Five quick ways to quit overspending

<p>It happens more than I’d like to admit. I’ll be driving somewhere — to pick up my kids, to meet a friend for coffee, for a work appointment. Slowly, I come to a stoplight in front of me. And it hits me . . . how did I get here? I don’t even remember driving past important landmarks along the way or sometimes even leaving home.</p>
<p>Or, I am on a mission. I zoom around the house busily picking up clutter, putting away laundry and organizing. I remember I need to purchase something from the store. By the time I cross the threshold of my kitchen door to find my phone and add said item to my list, it slips from my memory just like that.</p>
<p>Maybe you’ve encountered these circumstances before, too. At least we know we’re not alone, right? It’s easy to zone out and forget what you were doing or how you got somewhere.</p>
<p>These not-so-helpful habits of forgetfulness transfer into our finances if we’re not careful. We space tracking our daily spending. We splurge when we don’t have funds. We leave margin in our checking account only to have it absorbed by transactions we can’t even remember.</p>
<p>If things escalate beyond control, we rack up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt or find ourselves stretched and in a perilous financial position. While I can’t promise these tips will help you remember what it is you’re forgetting when you go into the kitchen, they can help reverse your pesky overspending problems before it’s too late.</p>
<h4><strong>Remove credit cards</strong></h4>
<p>In our modern era, we have access to more funds than our grandparents could have ever imagined during their lifetimes. Lenders are eager to let you spend money you don’t have all while charging fees that sometimes cause you to pay for your items two or three times over.</p>
<p>If you find that credit cards lead you down the path of spending money you don’t have, you need to rid yourself of them. We learned the difficult way that credit cards just couldn’t be a part of our personal finances. Even if you decide to keep a card or two, consider removing them from your wallet and leaving them at home.</p>
<p>You may be keeping the account open only for emergencies. However, emergency situations rarely occur while out to dinner or in your favorite big box retailer.</p>
<h4><strong>Transfer funds automatically</strong></h4>
<p>Most of us love the idea of saving money. We want funds available for a rainy day or to take vacations or in December when Christmas rolls around. However, few of us take the time to establish those funds or transfer money into them on a regular basis.</p>
<p>Check if your bank offers options such as automatic transfers to “trick” yourself into spending less and saving more. If you’re diligent enough, set up percentages and make those transfers on your own as soon as money is deposited.</p>
<p>When you leave extra funds in your general account, you will spend those dollars. The simple act of moving the money into a separate account helps you prevent that.</p>
<h4><strong>Check in daily</strong></h4>
<p>I’ll admit it. There are days when I log into the bank account peeping through my fingers. Even the most intentional budgeters make errors or have their moments. However, closing your eyes to your financial situation never turns out well.</p>
<p>For this reason, make it a daily practice to log into your accounts. Knowing the full picture of your finances helps you realize what you can and can’t spend. Remaining in the dark about your balances leads to impulse spending and unwise choices.</p>
<h4><strong>Switch to cash</strong></h4>
<p>Oh how I love the convenience of using my debit card to pay at the pump. And, it’s always in my wallet when I need to run an unexpected errand or make an online purchase. The presence of plastic seems ubiquitous in our world.</p>
<p>But overspending can be easily combated by its elder counterpart — cash. If you find you consistently go over budget, you may want to consider lining your wallet with Benjamins instead of Mastercards. If you’ve never operated on a cash-based system before, consider swapping out two or three categories of spending first. I always recommend using paper currency for the grocery store, dining out and entertainment.</p>
<p>You may choose to still use your debit card to pay for gas or prescriptions. Then, keep your spending in check when buying food or purchasing extras. This smart strategy prevents you from spending more than you planned to better than almost any other tactic.</p>
<h4><strong>Avoid traps</strong></h4>
<p>Friends, we all have weaknesses. We are human. Most of us know where we tend to go overboard on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the coffee shop that beckons us to make a quick stop on our way to work each morning. Perhaps it’s a favorite discount retailer where you love the fashion options. Then again, your struggle could be virtual as you click away ordering item after item.</p>
<p>Stop to identify where you fall into a regular spending trap. Once you’ve realized where you tend to struggle, avoid those places as much as possible.</p>
<p>Make the choice to safeguard your finances today. Stop overspending and begin saving for the future.</p>