To keep in control of your budget you should be aware of the things that trigger overspending. These triggers are pretty sneaky, and you need to recognize them. They will sabotage your budget even though they may seem harmless at the time. Here are some things that trigger overspending you may never have considered.
1. You’ve Come into Some Unexpected Cash
Nothing feels quite as good as coming into a little extra cash that you didn’t expect. However, this is one of the key things that trigger overspending. This money isn’t part of your budget, so it’s okay to spend - right? Well, if you’re trying to curb your spending and save, then you should think about ways to bank this cash and not put it in the till of your favorite shops. This kind of spending is called “mental accounting”. It is where you treat your unexpected cash as though it is winnings and spend it much less cautiously than you would if you had earned the money through working.
2. You’re Looking for Work
I’m sure when you were younger your mum probably told you that you’re not judged on your appearance, however when it comes to being interviewed, your mother couldn’t be more wrong. In a study it was shown that it takes just a quarter of a second to judge your trustworthiness and ability based on how you are dressed. Dressing to impress doesn’t come cheap. A basic suit can set you back around $300 to $600. The trick here is to invest in just one high quality, timeless outfit, look after it well and it will last you as many interviews as you need it for, rather than buy a selection of suits you can't afford.
3. You’re on Your Holidays!
According to a study by American Express, Americans spend on average $1,145 on their summer vacation. This is one of the overspending triggers because on holiday, budgeting and planning goes out the window. You probably did budget for your hotel and your flight but what about all those extras like sunscreen, gifts, excursions and nights out? To avoid this, make plans long before you get on the plane. Then you won’t get caught up in the moment and end up booking expensive last minute activities or dining in restaurants you would consider too expensive at home. Set a holiday spending budget and stick to it.
4. Your Pals Are Splashing the Cash so Why Can’t You?
We all have one of those friends who seems to have endless amounts of disposable income. They’re always in new outfits and going on expensive nights out. These types of friends are serious overspending triggers. I mean, you don’t want to look tight when you’re out with them so you try to keep up. To avoid your bank balance taking a hit when you hang out with your ‘flash with the cash’ friends, try asking them to meet up for a coffee, or even a walk - fresh air is free after all! Find inexpensive activities you all enjoy.
5. It’s an Occasion
There always seems to be an occasion that requires presents and nights out. Weddings, birthdays, job promotions and graduations are all going to be things that trigger overspending. You want to treat your loved ones and shower them with gifts to show that you care. You’ll be glad to know there are ways to stop spending so much on these occasions. Plan ahead when you want to treat a loved one and start putting money aside months before the event. Or think about other ways to treat them; can you make them something or cook them a dinner? Think outside of the box and you’ll probably come up with something thoughtful that they love that won' break your budget.
6. Money is Burning a Hole
We all have days where it feels like our bank card is on fire and burning a hole in our pockets. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, when you can afford it. I know that sometimes when I have had a bad day the only thing that will make it better is an online shop for a quick fix of happiness. If this sounds like you too, then think about other ways to make yourself feel happy without splashing your cash. Try eating a bowl of ice cream, meeting up with a friend or watching your favorite movie.
7. It is a Really Good Deal
It feels pretty good when your favorite shop is having a sale, or when you are racking up bonus points on your loyalty card. However when you feel as though you are getting a deal, you are more likely to spend, spend and spend. If you fall for this hook then ask yourself this question “is it a deal when you don’t really need it?” If you don’t need the item and haven’t budgeted for it then leave it in the shop. 50% off and bonus points might be a great deal but is it so good when you are using your credit card to buy it?
If you recognize the triggers that cause you to overspend, it is much easier to keep control of your budget. You’ve set yourself a budget for a reason – you don’t need sabotage! What are your worst triggers? How are you managing them?