Many of us have had a moment when we are standing eyes wide and jaw dropped staring at a bill. You might think to yourself, “There is no way I spent this much.” It can even feel like some mysterious conspiracy against you. Unfortunately, you are the number one suspect in this crime against your personal finances. Here are 5 clues that will reveal that the culprit was you in the store with a credit card.
You have no alibi
If someone were to come up and ask you how much you spent that day would you have an answer for them? If you aren’t sure then you have a problem. Some people even avoid looking at bank or credit card statements because they are afraid to see how far in the hole they are. However, seeing your spending is the first step in doing so responsibly. A spending plan, or a budget, is the best way to make sure you are spending your money wisely. By keeping yourself in the dark you are only hurting yourself and your lack of a plan points to you as the missing money culprit.
You have a rap sheet filled with shopping sprees
Do you ever go on money-mindless shopping sprees leaving nothing but crumpled up receipts in your path? Of course that is a bit dramatic but many people do enjoy some frivolous spending now and again. Some even have real issues with overspending where they often find themselves in stores without even needing to buy anything. You may have found that you like to shop as an emotional pick-me-up or as a stress relief. Emotional spending is more common than you might think. However, if you stay vigilant and keep your spending in check you can keep these crimes of passion against your wallet to a minimum.
The evidence is all over your home
One clue that you may be an over spender is if your place is filled with things you rarely use. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, appliances or any other thing that takes up space, unnecessary clutter definitely points to overspending. The money used to buy all of your useless stuff would have served you better as savings.
Once you’ve solved this money mystery you can begin to correct it. Admitting to yourself that you are an over spender is half the battle. There are several was to stop yourself from spending more than you should and get yourself on track to financial responsibility.
- Keep a spending log. With a spending log you can keep track of the money that you spend and the places that you spend it. That way you can tell exactly where you need to cut back.
- Create a budget. A budget will help you to balance your spending with your income so that you can leave you room for saving and paying bills. If you’d like some help with your budgeting, there are plenty of sites out there that can help you keep track of your money.
- Get some accountability. Tell a friend or a family member that you’d like to work on your spending habits. If someone else knows about your goals they can follow up with you to make sure you are meeting them.
Now that you are aware of your overspending alter ego you can take steps to stop it. Try using some of these suggestions to see where you can save.
Joe Raspolich is a staff writer for MoneySavingPro.com and believes frugal living can be as fun as it is smart. Image by austinevan / flickr.