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Even the most savings-dedicated individuals slip up once in a while and engage themselves in a serious spending binge. ‘It’s not that we love overspending, it just happens.
That’s the kind of phrase you’ll expect from shoppers who wish to do something worthwhile with their cash but end up squandering it all in their frequent spending sprees.
People have different reasons for going on a spending spree. Some go binge-shopping to escape the difficult moments in their lives.
Think of it as their version of drinking their problems away. Others do it simply because they’ve been working tirelessly on a full-time basis without actually putting themselves first for once.
As a result, the charges on their credit cards total to amounts anywhere between $200-$400. If you’ve found yourself in a situation similar to this one, there’s no need to have sleepless nights about it.
If you have a plan in place to recover from your recent spending spree, don’t wait a while before putting it into action.
If you don’t, the following are a few suggestions on how you can get back from your shopping spree blues and get back on track financialy.
Step 1: Get to Know the Reason Behind the Spending Spree
First and foremost, think. Before coming up with a plan to undo your wrongs, give some thought into how and why you ended up overspending in the first place. Do some self-examination and figure out the driving force behind your erratic spending.
Unless you come out clearly with yourself, there’s no chance of figuring how to prevent it from ever happening again in future.
Addressing the underlying problem is the key to recovery. You can promise yourself not to use your credit card on a shopping spree ever again, but sure enough, you still find yourself in the same old spending loop.
One plausible solution would be because you’ve been neglecting yourself for so long. Most people go for spending spree to finally get their lives (and needs) in check once and for all.
Once spending temperatures have risen, there’s no possible way of putting it off any longer.
From now on, start to be smart on any issue that revolves around self-care. If it’s a massage, get yourself one and get it over with.
Need new clothes? Maybe shoes? If your budget and your finances will allow it, cross them off your list without waiting for your needs to accumulate to the point that you eventually splurge to your last dime.
The best time to address your needs would be when you’re doing your budgeting. Prioritize all your needs and save some for your personal needs.
Step 2: Be Smart and Devise a Plan to Pay it Off
Come up with a clear debt-clearing plan that will be beneficial in the long-term. Determine how much you owe in credit card debt and set a specific time by which you plan to have it paid.
Considering you never went about your shopping spree while at gunpoint, you have yourself to blame for any debts incurred in the process.
You can try using your monthly allowance to clear off your debt. If you have a joint finance account with your spouse or relative, go ahead and set aside $100 each in allowance each every month.
Since you can spend your allowances without consulting from your partner, use it to put a dent on your outstanding credit card bill.
If it’s enough to clear it all in one sitting, good for you. If it’s not, you may have to tap into your extra income.
If you work multiple jobs, then you’re better placed to clear your bills in the quickest way possible. Deposit some of your earnings into your RRSP for essential needs such as your home down payment.
For the month to come, use your income to pay off your outstanding credit card bill. Go about the debt-clearing process based on how much you make on average. If you can clear it all at once, well and good. If you can’t set aside 10% of what you earn to go specifically to your credit card debt.
Step 3: Get to Know What Your Spending Triggers Are
Some people just don’t know when to stop. One may have come from a spending spree yesterday, but you’ll still see them with shopping bags every other day.
Unaware of how to recover from their previous binges, they keep doing it in the hopes that the guilt will gradually wear off.
To create worthwhile spending habits, you need to start by understanding that spending is an unavoidable circumstance. It could as well be considered a fact of life, albeit one of the most enjoyable ones.
When you start spending your money the right way, there’s a chance that it will take you through the month.
The best way to tame your spending habits is to steer clear from your spending triggers. Everyone has one of those friends or people that make us want to spend a little more than we intended to.
Perhaps its the sweet aroma of the bakery next door, or that one friend who’s consistently pressuring you to get the latest of everything.
Rather than completely cutting ties with those spending triggers, just limit your contact. That will leave room for you to spend only whatever you put aside for your personal needs.
Instead of taking a trip to the mall with your friend, take a hike instead. As for your trigger spots, try taking a different path on your daily commutes. It’s tempting to stop by the bakery and buy stuff you never planned on buying.
Impulse buying kicks in the moment you give in to your urge of stopping by to purchase ‘one or two’ things.
Don’t mistake limiting your contact with letting go of them completely. Make room for fun by having a clear plan of your money before spending it. At this point, if you know you simply can’t go without buying on impulse, then…
Step 4: Get Someone to Keep Your Spending in Check
Every shopper needs a good accountability partner. You may be thinking that you’re better off shopping alone, but that’s only a recipe for more and more spending sprees in the future.
You can set a few goals on your own, but implementing them may be a problem once your paycheck sets in.
With an accountability partner, you don’t have to worry about going against your budget or savings goals.
They could be your best friend or partner; someone who you can trust to put you in check on each of your spending adventures.
One who won’t be shy to tell you that you’ve crossed the line at a certain point without worrying about hurting your feelings. They should be readily available any time you feel like heading out for a few stuff.
In this case, it’s best you pick a relative or someone who you share a roof with who also happens to be miserly in their spending.
You may hire someone to keep your spending in check, though it won’t be as fun. He/she may either be too soft on you or worse, too hard on you. Someone who can chime in your shopping successes and warn you of deals that are simply not worth your time and money.
When you know you have someone by your side to tell you ‘no,’ spending the right way won’t be as hard as you thought.
If you don’t have someone in your life who can put your spending in check, it won’t hurt to download some apps to save money on your shopping.
Step 5: Give Back Eligible Items
Sounds a little too far fetched, doesn’t it? However much it may hurt, it’s part of the spending-spree recovery process that you can take a shot at.
Sadly still, there’s no way of determining whether or not you’ll get your money back. If you’ve gone on a shopping spree in different stores, the process of returning the stuff you’ve bought is going to vary greatly.
The best thing you can do at the moment is to adequately prepare yourself before heading to the store(s) you bought your items from. Here are a few things to consider well in advance:
Read through the store’s return policy
Before anything else, take a look at the stores’ return policy. That way, you’ll know what to expect. While others may need a receipt as proof of purchase, others like Walmart won’t really put that into consideration.
Basically, you don’t need to waste time trying to build up a case if there’s no need. If the store’s return policy allows it, see what you can wrangle up from your purchases to get your refund.
Get It Over With As Soon As Possible
With a few minor exceptions, you may get the best results the sooner you return the item(s). This is worth considering especially if the store in question has a strict 90-day return policy or something close to that.
If you return your items later than the specified time period, think of something real quick. For instance, you could return it minus the receipt and tell the cashier it was given to you as a gift.
If they’re unable to track the date the item was purchased, they probably won’t mind taking it back. Ensure its in its original packaging.
Stay Calm and Be Nice
Being your first time, your nervousness may show. The first thing that may cross their minds is maybe you’ve stolen the items or you’ve swapped them for fake ones. As much as possible, try to keep your cool.
The calmer and collected you are the more they may buy your story and take back their stuff. If you’re a regular at that store, they won’t have any reason to doubt you.
Most people won’t (and can’t) consider returning their purchased items an option. A number of shoppers have done this multiple times without much effort.
Before ruling it off, try returning items like clothes and see if you can reverse your shopping wrongs and feel better about yourself.
Step 6: Quit Excessive Spending
One of the easiest ways of recovering gracefully from a spending spree is not to spend at all. You that you have to save for the future, but how do you go about it in a way that’s going to stick?
Without a doubt, excessive spending can be a vicious self-destructive cycle that we’ve all found ourselves in at some point in our lives.
Despite your honorable intentions, impulse purchases always find a way around your radar. That leads to a certain inability to get your finances back on track.
We go on spending sprees for a number of reasons, and some of them can be sourced from our emotions. Often, we chalk up spending sprees for these three reasons:
To Feel Better About Ourselves
Some people find solace in areas where they can waste their earnings away. Others consider it to be therapeutic.
For most of us, we spend on impulse because we simply can’t hold back. When you spot something you love, you hastily get it onto your cart without thinking of the financial repercussions it might have later on.
Poor budgeting (or not budgeting at all)
Regardless of the magnitude of your income, you’re likely to spend all your earnings in a single sitting if you don’t have a budget.
Budgets give you a distinct guideline of how to take care of your domestic needs while setting aside something extra for fun with zero guilt or regret.
Keeping up with the Joneses is a habit that’s embedded in our DNAs. If you never feel the urge to do what your peers are doing, wear what they’re wearing, and so on, well… good for you. Before
cloning your friends’ lifestyle habits, understand that they also have their fair share of financial woes.
Fortunately for you, there’s a way you can overcome excessive spending. It’s not going to be a smooth process, of course. With some long-term thinking, self-discipline and tons of planning, excessive spending won’t be a problem any longer.
Step 7: Find Out What Caused You to Deviate From Your Spending Plan
Once you’ve devised a plan to get back on a stable financial footing, it’s essential to figure out why you couldn’t stick to your spending plan.
Why did you go on a spending spree when you have other stuff to take care of? What can you do to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again?
Whether you were depressed, bored, scared or excited, the best way to keep track of your spending is always the same – drafting a budget.
With a spending plan or budget in place, every month must come with tangible goals in which you must struggle to achieve.
At the very least, try as much as you can to trace your spending actively so you know when and where your money is going.
There’s every good reason in choosing to come up with a budget. Most likely, the reason you never thought twice about going for a shopping spree is that you never had a budget.
Step 8: Get Back to Your Regular Spending Plan (If it exists)
The seventh step to getting rid of your guilt is to get your spending plan back on course – if you had one in the first place.
If your spending plan was carefully thought-out, don’t be quick to get rid of it. If anything, take the earliest opportunity to get back to it right away.
If you weren’t budgeting your income for one reason or another, you probably know why it’s important to have a budget in place before spending your money.
To start with, there are several types of budgeting strategies to put into consideration. Each of them comes with its individual attributes.
The most essential step you can take right now is to make a comprehensive list of each one of your fixed expenses – utilities, car payments, insurance, mortgage/rent, etc. – along with how much they’ll cost you.
From that point, you can divvy up any extra income you may have to any negotiable categories such as entertainment, dining out, food and miscellaneous.
Ideally, you can ensure that you have sufficient cash incorporated into your budget for debt repayment and savings.
Failure to plan for debt payment and saving is going to cost you in the near future. Rather than experience the same level of guilt later on, do the responsible thing right now and stick to your spending plan.
Step 9: Tweak Your Budget a Little to Fit Your Personal Needs
If you notice you have a problem with overspending from time to time, consider changing a few things on your budget.
If you like taking advantage of good deals, your budget should address such needs to prevent you from repeating the same in the future.
Take time to review your budget and review your total expenses every month. After calculating the total, tweak the categories in your budget in such a way that you set aside a substantial amount to cater for these and more costs.
Additionally, switching to cash for vacations and sales can make a huge difference. If you wish to swipe your credit or debit cards for discounts, make it a point to make payments in cash to pay off your credit cards.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t put your personal needs ahead of the most pressing issues. This simple act is known as prioritizing. Allocate a huge percentage of your income to all the important issues including rent, gas, utilities, and such issues.
Your needs should be allocated a substantial amount that fit all your personal needs. That way, even if you decide to go on a spending spree, you can go with all the confidence knowing that it was already budgeted for.
Be careful not to do it too often and affect the rest of your budget. If your income may not allow you to make room for anything else other than your necessities, you may want to get another job.
Step 10: Forgive Yourself and Pick Up the Pieces
Let’s face it, as humans, we’re all prone to temptations. The only difference about it is that they come in different ways. Maybe yours is falling prey to all the good offers and once-in-a-lifetime deals. You may not consider it one of your best actions, but it’s totally fine.
The recovery process is incomplete without being able to get past your mistakes. So you spent more than what you initially had in mind.
It’s probably not the first time something like that has happened to you – and it may definitely not be the last, either.
On the bright side, at least you’re open to the fact that you made a mistake and you’re willing to do what it takes to make things right.
Some people overspend for months, even years, without coming to terms with their actions. This year alone, the average household has amassed a credit card debt of over $16,000.
While a huge chunk of that debt is because of emergency spending, the rest of it comes about as a result of needless spending sprees.
Since most of these sprees were never acknowledged or addressed, the spending sprees go on and on without any sign of remorse.
The result? Extra credit cards card debt and pending bills at home. Facing your problem head-on means that you’re ready to take the first step to ensure your spending doesn’t spiral out of control.
You Don’t Need to Be Perfect to Get By Financially
We’ve all gone into mindless spending sprees at some point in our lives. If you’ve never overspent in your life, it still doesn’t make you better than the rest of us.
Those who have managed to come out on top didn’t simply bury their heads in the sand and kept on frequenting the mall at their pleasure. It had to start with some form of acceptance.
Being honest to yourself is the best way you can keep your spending plan in check. Realize that overspending is just one of the stumbling blocks of achieving financial stability.
Its impact, however, can be temporary if you notice it soon enough and take the necessary steps to right your wrongs.