Overspending can look like you are impulsive or have no self-discipline. However, the research says that there are other factors that impact on our spending habits. For example, if spending was never discussed in your family when you were growing up. Overspending begins with a lack of budgeting. Some people do not have any idea how much ‘extra’ spending money they have. Often we think ‘I’m earning enough money so I should be able to afford it’, we often have an inflated view of how much money we have.
Unfortunately we must write down what we spend and what we earn, it’s the only way to calculate and keep above ‘water’, it’s so hard to try to keep all that information in your head.!
Understanding and analysing your budget is extremely difficult, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys it, in fact I have offered this as a free service to friends and family…no one took up my offer
Removing the emotion from your finances
How often do you find yourself paying for something with your card without even checking to see if you can afford it. How many times are you put in a situation where you feel you have to go out for a meal or have a coffee with a friend. Or maybe you know you are overdrawn but you still get a takeaway when you know you cannot afford it.
A good start is to set up your online banking, then either get an app, a spreadsheet or a book to document all your spending. I get a text every money from my bank to tell me what my balance is.
Keep all of your receipts and you will begin to notice where your money is going.
How the media makes us spend
The media and advertising companies really know how to get us to spend our money. Sales, half price offers, buy one get one free etc. We all live very busy lifestyles, many people could be overspending because they do not have time to work out a budget. We feel better about ourselves when we have the latest phone, watch or handbag or other designer labels. We want to impress people with how much money we have. Money validates us. Money makes us feel we are somebody.
I’ve written in another blog how I started budgeting and the easiest way was to use cash, leave the cards at home and budget using the amount of cash I have in my purse. Otherwise don’t go to the shops, don’t buy anything online, have a no spend day, then a no spend week, then if you can manage it a no spend month 🙂 Then you really won’t be tempted.
Does your background impact on your spending decisions
Your background and personality have an impact on your spending habits, if you had a lot of possessions and lived a particular lifestyle you may wish to keep that style of living even though you may not recognise that it is crippling you.
Champagne lifestyle on lemonade money
You need to identify the budget that is right for you and stick to it, you need to be conscientious, be emotionally stable and be very dedicated and organised if you want to succeed. It’s extremely difficult and I confess I have fallen off a few times, especially around payday. People who are disorganised and inattentive will fail to stick to a budget.
Changing habits, attitude and perception is key to achieving your budgeting goal, you need to have financial literacy and be financially healthy. Try to make your financial literacy a lifestyle, not a chore that you do every time you go overdrawn. Believe me, it will change your life and impact on your future happiness.
Teaching children about money and budgeting
Not only do we need to be money savvy, we need to teach our children about budgeting, about what is expected of them when they grow up and get their first home.
A basic lesson in budget is a good start, but teaching them about saving and making money is a basic lesson in budgeting where they will become more prepared for independent life. Think about it, when your children leave home and you are planning your next stage in life without children, then you find they want to come back because they cannot cope without you making their financial decisions????
Money and our emotions
Money is connected to our emotions, how do you feel when you are out of money? when you go into your overdraft? Anger, fear, depressed? many people get angry with money. This relationship with money can be strongly connected, it can be a love/hate relationship. Our feelings can be so strong because we can believe that it is the root of our problems. Money has caused people to end relationships, personal and family, leave jobs they love or in the extreme cases end their lives.
People have reported that after they had won a large amount of money they have enjoyed the first few weeks, but after this they have been more miserable than before they won the money. Money does give people status, it may make some people feel powerful, money also influences how others treat you and how you treat others too.
There is research on how people behave when they see someone who is homeless compared to someone who is dress in a suit. Homeless man vs man in suit
Financial psychologists Bradley Klontz and Ted Klontz refer to the term “money script” to describe our core beliefs about money. They say that “money scripts are typically unconscious, developed in childhood, passed down from generation to generation within families and cultures, contextually bound, and often only partial truths”.
Changing attitudes towards money
We should be working towards developing a healthier relationship with money.
Unfortunately, money has such a powerful impact on us that it can have a profound effect on some people’s personalities and attitudes. It can turn a nice person nasty or a happy person miserable. It can inspire greed and selfishness. This is why we need to be money literate to enable us to teach others this skill too.