Why can’t I stop spending money?!!
We’ve all seen it. Maybe it’s someone you know, be it your wife, husband, brother or sister…or even yourself…they just can’t stop spending money. It doesn’t matter how much they earn, or where they work, the one-thing spenders have in common is the big fat zero on their bank statement at the end of the month. Savings??…What’s that!
Spending is a habit, just like smoking, drinking or gambling. It feels good when you do it but when the euphoria wears off and the adrenaline runs out, you gotta figure out how to fund your next fix. This is the perpetual cycle of any addiction and the key to beating it is to understand what makes people like this tick. How do we explain this compulsive behaviour?
Well, I’m no doctor of phycology and I’m not going to sit you down on a couch and talk to you about low self-esteem. What I will do though, is point out two of the biggest reasons why people overspend and what they can do to get themselves out of trouble and harms way.
Avoidance. An individual’s family background and experience plays a vital role in establishing someone’s financial DNA. If your Mum or Dad were terrible at handling finances and didn’t have the skills to avoid wracking up debts, chances are you’re exactly the same. As kids we’re trained to follow and mimic most things our parents teach us whether they intended to or not. This kind of behaviour just feeds the cycle and won’t stop until someone actively stands up and puts a stop to it – Someone like you.
It’s all about standing back and taking a good long hard look at exactly what you spend – building a complete picture of your financial situation and acknowledging you have a problem. This is the first and hardest step to take. Reality blows away much of the preconceived ideas you have about spending and what it means to you. Get down to the nitty gritty and work your way through your account balances and bank transactions, and keep a track of everything you earn and everything you spend. Getting your family or partner involved is also a great way to keep yourself honest and be accountable for your spending.
Instant gratification. If you’re a spender, you can’t delay the need to have something right away – it’s hardwired into you. It’s easier than ever to indulge your desires and getting that next fix is only one-click away from your mobile or computer. You love to spend and enjoy the moment, never looking further than the next day.
To help curb these impulses and cut back on spending why don’t you try some of the following:
- Admit you have a spending problem. Stand up and shout out to the world “I CAN’T STOP SPENDING MONEY!!!”…Look yourself in the mirror and put things into perspective. Time to stop your spending habit taking control of your life.
- Never use credit cards or other lines of credit. By using cash you’re less likely to overspend.
- Withdraw cash from your bank account yourself. See for yourself how your balance drops down to zero.
- Pay as you go. Pay for everything as it comes and better understand how all your money just “disappears”.
- Be vocal about your savings goals. If you tell your close family and friends about how much you intend to save and when you plan to do it, they’ll hold you to it. Become accountable.
- Reward yourself. When you meet your savings goals, treat yourself with a little reward. It’s great to recognise hard work and value your achievements. Just don’t make it too big a treat!
- Stop and ask. Before each and every purchase ask yourself if you ‘want’ the item or ‘need’ it. There’s a difference and you need to recognise this.
- Keep looking at the future. Making plans about the future for your family and yourself means planning ahead, no matter how uncomfortable this is for you. Being prepared now means a better life going forward.
- Delay your purchases. Follow the ’10 minute rule’. Usually, the urge to buy something unnecessary will likely pass after 10 minutes of waiting.
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