17: How to Stop Overspending

Is overspending having unintended effects on your finances? While money itself is neutral, it is important to be intentional with money. Some people, however, feel that overspending is simply a way of life. Let’s explore why typical responses to overspending don’t work and then consider some impactful ways that you can spend money more thoughtfully.

In many circles, people suggest no-spend months and budgeting as a solution to people who are dealing with overspending. The parallels between these types of restrictions and dieting are helpful in seeing why they don’t actually fix overspending. Completing a no-spend challenge successfully--or unsuccessfully--means you acted differently for a month. But it does not necessarily address any of the thoughts behind your actions. To make real change, it is vital to change our thoughts first. Why? Thoughts are the foundation for our feelings, our actions, and our results. 

To help regulate your spending, it is first helpful to understand that there are four ways that we deal with feelings. We can resist, avoid, react, or allow. In the case of overspending, learning to allow feelings of desire is crucial. Learning how to un-desire something can help with overspending. For instance, someone might associate a love of shoes with part of their identity. Un-learning the desire to spend on shoes can help someone see that buying shoes was a habit, not a part of who they are as a person. 

After you have done the thought work, you want to create a budget or a spending plan. This ensures that your spending comes from your prefrontal cortex, not your toddler brain. By planning your spending in advance, you can curb a lot of the impulse buys that often lead to overspending. Planning our spending in advance ensures that our primitive brains don’t win out. It also helps make sure that spending is not a constant--and oftentimes, losing--battle of willpower. 

In this episode, we also explore:

  • The motivational triad and how it relates to spending 
  • A deeper dive into the four ways we deal with feelings--resisting, avoiding, reacting, and allowing
  • A Mason-jar technique that you can use to practice the concept of allowing 
  • The value of goal setting and how it pushes us forward
  • How to fit spontaneity into your budget or spending plans

Featured on this episode:

  • Learn concrete steps to create a wealthy mindset here.
  • Listen to a refresher on changing your thoughts and shifting your mindset here.
  • Remind yourself that money is neutral with this podcast episode.
  • See if integrating any of the frugal tips for high-income women in this post might work for you.
  • Read about financial mistakes I’ve made and survived here.