Everyone has been a victim of overspending or impulse buying. You leave the house expecting to spend 1,000 shillings and you end up going way over your budget. The last time this happened to me, it had to do with shopping. I would buy clothes just about every weekend. It became such a huge problem because my wardrobe was overflowing and yet I still complained that I had nothing to wear. I was spending way beyond my means and it all came back to me. Eventually, I made a conscious decision to stop buying clothes and utilize what I have in my wardrobe. For about six months, I didn’t buy any clothes at all, and the benefits were evident.
I’m sure everyone has that one thing where most of their money goes. More often than not this one thing can easily be avoided. Someone once advised me to keep a receipt of all the things I spent money on and then analyse it at the end of the month. This is how you realize that you are actually wasting money.
Here are a few tips on how to stop being a spendthrift.
- Make your money inaccessible
You can’t spend what you don’t have. That’s a fact. In order to stop being a spendthrift, you sometimes have to impose harsh rules on yourself so that you actually follow them. I did this by withdrawing a set amount of money from my account only once a week. Going back to the A.T.M every now and then isn’t as easy. That means I have to make the little amount of money that I have work for me. This has been an extremely effective method, and I’ve found that I’m able to spend less and save more, which is the actual goal. Leave your A.T.M card at home because if you don’t have it with you can’t even be tempted to use it. Also, don’t have a lot of money on MPESA.
2. Lock your money in a savings account
Again, if you’re a spendthrift it might be necessary to put these strict rules on yourself so that you don’t have a chance of misbehaving. If you have a fixed income at the end of every month, you can put aside some of this money in a savings account for a set period of time. This helps, in that you will not be able to access this money for a long period of time. At the end of every month, deposit a certain amount into this account and you’ll be sure to save a lot more money than you think.
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- Set short-term financial goals
I think one of the reasons why we overspend is because we have no goals as such, nothing to make us have a need to save. This is why it’s necessary to set short-term financial goals because when you do, you will have a deeper understanding of why you’re saving the money. Again, we shouldn’t always save so that we can purchase something. Saving is also important for that rainy day when you will need the money. In setting your financial goals you need to put that into consideration. Saving or investing, which way to go?
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4. Understand your spending triggers
As I’ve said earlier, it is important to know what makes you spend the most money on, because without this then you will keep spending on it without realizing it. I was advised to keep my receipts aside for an entire month. Every single coin that I spent was written down. At the end of the month, I realized what I was overspending on, and I realised that these were the most avoidable costs. Learning this was extremely eye-opening for me because I finally understood why I need to save up and in what particular areas.
If you discover that you spend the most money on takeout food, you might want to start carrying packed lunch to the office or to school. If you discover that you’re spending too much on alcohol, cut down your intake. Life is about balance.
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- Stick to your budget
Overspending happens when we don’t take the time to plan how we’re going to spend our money. Therefore if you’re earning a fixed income at the start of every month, you might want to learn how to budget and stick to it. If you have a set amount of money for savings, put it aside and don’t use it for anything else. I also read somewhere that you should assign each coin a job. This means that at no point should you have extra money that hasn’t been placed in a specific area because that’s exactly how you end up spending too much on it. Learn how to prioritize your budget and stick to it no matter what. Finances 101: How To Create A Budget And Different Budgeting Methods You Can Use
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