The other day I woke up in the middle of the night and immediately groaned. Why? Because I remembered that I had missed making a bill payment online and now I was going to get hit with a hefty late fee. I’m sure we have all done this more times than we care to admit, and we always promise ourselves to never do it again. Unfortunately, over time it adds up BIG time and then we wonder why we overspend. So today I’m sharing 7 reasons you keep overspending and how to prevent it. Because sometimes it’s the small things that wreak havoc on our finances.
7 Reasons You Keep Overspending
1. You don’t have a budget.
Not having a budget is like trying to walk with a blindfold on. Yes, you may be OK at first, but eventually you’re going to stumble. Take the time each month to go over your finances. List your income and expenses then determine what you need to adjust and take action. It takes time, but eventually you’ll see that your efforts are paying off and you’ll be less likely to overspend. Remember that “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
2. You use the ATM.
I know it’s convenient and at times necessary. But realistically, how often do you go to a no-fee ATM? I know I rarely do, so each time I go to withdraw cash I’m paying a few dollars for the transaction. According ATM Marketplace the average ATM fee is $4.13. If you do this three times per month for a year, it will cost you $148.68! Instead, go to your bank to withdraw cash or request cash back when checking out at a retail store. There are no fees for either option.
3. You don’t pay attention to due dates.
This one always gets me. I pencil it in and even set up alerts, but if I’m busy at the moment I wind up forgetting. So in the end that free movie night winds up costing me more than a few nights rental. Since I know that I have a lot going on, I ask my husband to remember and set up an alert on his phone. That way I’m not missing bill due dates (set up automatic when possible!) or forgetting to return library books on time.
4. You buy things on impulse.
You’re out having a great time with your family at the park. You decide to head home when someone mentions what a great day it is for ice cream. Instead of going home you head to the local ice cream shoppe for some frozen goodness. Sound familiar? I’m not opposed to a treat here and there, but it can become an issue when it happens all the time. An overpriced coffee here or an ice cream there will soon add up (especially if you have a big family!). So set aside “fun” money when you budget and keep the impulse buys to a minimum.
5. You drive unnecessarily.
You head out to pick up something you need from the grocery store. Later in the day you head back out to go to the post office. Then you remember that you need to go to the pharmacy so back out you go. I drive a large SUV so I’ve had to learn how to make the most out of my errand runs. Before I head out I make a list of all the things I will need and make all stops in one run. Gas prices are not cheap today so make the most out of every trip you take.
6. You don’t take inventory.
You have an unopened bottle of ketchup at home, but wind up buying another one because you failed to check your pantry before heading out to the grocery store. This is just one of the many ways we wind up spending more money than we should. It can be anything from groceries to household products. While I’m planning meals or heading out to purchase anything we need, I take inventory first so that I’m not spending money unnecessarily. Always make sure you check out what you have at home first before wasting your hard earned dollars on duplicates.
7. You pay for convenience.
Everything that’s convenient cost more. When you can’t cook and go through a restaurant drive-thru, you’re paying more than it would cost you to make a meal. You don’t want to take the time to wash your own vehicle, that’s fine, but again it will cost you more to take it to the local car wash. Unless it’s something you absolutely can’t do yourself, try to figure out how you can obtain similar results on your own. We recently save hundreds of dollars because my husband replaced a part in our SUV by doing it himself with some help from my brother. It took them a bit more time, but they achieved the same results that an auto repair shop would have given us (minus the hefty bill).
Did I miss anything? What are some habits that cause you to overspend? Please comment and share below!
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