While Alex and I may have taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and have gotten out of debt (well, we're actually back in debt now due to our car payment), we definitely aren't perfect when it comes to budgeting or spending wisely 24/7.
We go through stages of budgeting hard core and stages of overspending. I've learned a few things along our journey of becoming debt free, and I'd love to share my tips/experience on how to get out of an overspending binge.
1.) Make a budget
I've learned the hard way that without a budget, I have nothing to keep me accountable. Many people dread budgeting, but it seriously brings so much peace of mind and security (this is very true for women). Also, make sure you have someone to keep you accountable. I can imagine it would be a bit harder to stick to a budget if you are single, but let someone close to you know what your budgeting goals are and when you are tempted, you can reach out to them for support.
2.) Take out cash immediately
Alex and I get payed every Friday, and if we don't make it to the bank on the way home after work Friday afternoon....well, we're not taking out cash that week and we won't stick to our budget. See my previous post on how we use cash envelopes and what categories we use.
3.) Stay away from your weakness
I am guilty of doing a lot of window shopping (mostly at thrift stores or Target). Most of the time, I can do it without spending a dime. I take a ton of photos if I need inspiration for outfits or redecorating. However, the mall is my kryptonite. Every time I go in to a department store, I think to myself....dang, I LOVE all of these clothes...and shoes...and purses...and makeup...and jewelry. If you are truly on an overspending binge and are a shopper like me, I would recommend unsubscribing to tempting emails, and setting a goal of not entering your kryptonite stores until you can get back on track with budgeting.
4.) Have a goal
It's a lot easier to stay on track when you have a goal in mind. Maybe you are saving to get out of debt, pay off your car or save for a vacation. Setting a goal gives you something to focus on, that way when you are standing in the home decor section of Target and pondering if you REALLY need that new lamp, well you have a goal to remind you to snap out of it!
5.) Put away the credit card
I'm not going to lie. Alex and I still have a credit card. We are the worst Dave Ramsey Financial peace teachers ever. We use it for our bills, but there have definitely been times when I've used the credit card as a back up. "Oh these shoes are SUCH a good deal, and we don't have enough money in our debit account, but we're getting a bonus in a month and I can just charge it to the credit card now and pay it off next month." BAD IDEA! This is where the overspending population gets in to BIG trouble. Spending more than we have...how does that happen? Well, we put it on a freaking credit card. I know getting rid of our credit card would change my thinking and spending habits, but I honestly don't think Alex will ever get rid of it (it's like a security blanket for him). So, it's up to me to be strong, and know that putting things on credit is not wise, and will only lead to more frustration and financial problems down the road. If you can, cut them up...ALL of them! You won't be tempted if they aren't there.
I hope these tips help you! Financial freedom is a major life changer, and I hope that people begin to realize that debt is not a good thing (even if you are getting a low interest rate). If you are looking for books to read on the topic I recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and The Millionaire Next Door. Do you tend to be an over spender or not? I'd love to hear your experiences!