5 Practical Tools to Combat Overspending

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Having trouble with overspending? Don’t worry, you’re not on your own.

So many of us fall into money troubles not because the basic cost of living is so great (though I appreciate in some circumstances it is!), but because we just can’t control our spending.

More goes out than comes in and a lot of the time it’s mindless over-consumption which isn’t necessary.

We live in a throwaway culture of fast fashion, with Pinterest and Instagram showing us what our homes should look like…and so we buy things. Not because we need them, not necessarily because we want them. Just because it’s so easy to and everyone else is doing it too.

Overspending is a real issue. In many cases of credit card debt, the person who racked up the debt probably can’t even tell you what the money was spent on. We see something. We buy it. And we find ourselves trapped in a never ending cycle of online purchases, hauls and ‘oops, I only went in for x and £90 later here I am… lol!’

The majority of cases of overspending are down to mindset. It’s an unconscious habit that we’ve developed and rely on when we think or feel a certain way.

And so to truly combat overspending, we need to dig into the real reasons why we’re doing it in the first place.

But there are some practical steps we can take too, so if you need to limit your overspending here are a few tips that you can try to implement.

Cash Envelopes

When you’re going out – be it grocery shopping, for a browse around the shops, for lunch or whatever – assign yourself a budget beforehand and withdraw that money in cash.

Leave your cards at home, disable your google/apple pay.

You can’t overspend if you only have £50 on you.

You might also enjoy…What are the Dangers of Overspending?

A Budget That Works For You

If you’re not already budgeting each month – you should be! But that’s a whole other post (you can read my How to Create A Budget (From Scratch) series here).

Already have a budget and still find yourself overspending? It’s because you’re not being realistic with your budget and how it fits in with your lifestyle.

Having a budget is not about restriction. It’s not about deprivation.

So if you set yourself a budget with no allocated spend for eating out or clothes for example, then you’re setting yourself up to fail and will always overspend.

Allowing yourself £50 a month to buy clothes, is better than not budgeting for them at all then constantly ending up in the red because clothing is something you spend money on every month.

It’s also psychological. If you’re dieting and tell yourself you can’t have chocolate….all you’ll want is chocolate!

And it’s the same with a budget. Telling yourself there’s no money for x,y and z is only going to make you want to spend your money on those things.

The budgets shouldn’t be too generous – after all we’re not trying to encourage spending! But they should be adequate enough to allow you to have some guilt free spending.

You might also enjoy…How to Stop Spending Money on Clothes

Tracking Your Spending

One practical tip to combat overspending that I fall back on myself time and time again is tracking my spending.

Write down every single purchase. All of them. Even that £1 or £2 here and there.

I personally prefer to use a pen and paper as I find the process even more effective.

Do it daily for at least a week, but for maximum results – try it for a month.

And as you’re going through this process you’ll become more and more self aware of your spending.

Usually I find that knowing I’m going to be documenting this spend later, is enough to make me more conscious when I’m doing the actual spending and to ask myself ‘do I really want/need this?’.

You might also enjoy…8 Surprising Benefits of Tracking Your Spending

Set Financial Goals and Keep Them Visible

The next practical tip is to think about that thing you want to achieve – it could be debt freedom, saving for a house… it could even be something smaller like saving for your next holiday or day out.

What ever it is, create a visual aid to keep reminding you of why you want to combat overspending and where that money could be used instead.

You could create a tracker and pin it to your fridge or noticeboard and physically track your progress.

Or you could stick a picture of the goal somewhere where you’ll see it every day and be constantly reminded – maybe even set it as your mobile phone background?

The constant visual reminder will be a good motivator when you’re tempted to spend.

You might also enjoy…How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

Get Accountable

The competitiveness nature in all of us is why accountability is a great tool for combating overspending.

If you tell someone you’re going to do something, you’re more likely to do it than if you just tried to self-motivate.

Get a friend to check in with you, publicly announce your goal on social media – no one likes to fail, especially not in front of an audience.


As I mentioned earlier, whilst practical tools will help you to combat your overspending in the moment, the long term solution will only be found when you work on your mindset and realise why you’re overspending in the first place. Do some self-reflection. Recognise your spending triggers. The more conscious you are of the reasons why you’re overspending, the easier it will be to fix them.


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