5 Ways To Recover When You Overspend

Do you tend to overspend? If so, you aren’t alone.

We’ve all had times where we went to Target for one thing and walked out with ten items that weren’t even on our list. Maybe Target isn’t your kryptonite. Maybe for you, it’s Ulta, Kohl’s Cash, or clothes/shopping for your kids.

Or maybe you had a bad day at work, and you treated yourself to that new tablet you’ve been eyeballing. (you know- the one that all of your friends have but you? yeah, that one). Whatever it is doesn’t necessarily matter – it’s all the same. You have walked into a store and walked out, spending way more than you planned on spending.

Afterward, that sinking feeling starts to set in. The feeling has you clenching your teeth as you sign in to your online banking app or credit card account. That’s the feeling of regret mixed with a little bit of nausea.

After this feeling, we usually have the thought, “Oh well. My budget’s gone down the toilet anyway, so why bother?” Then instead of cooking what’s on your meal plan, you order pizza delivery.

The feelings that usually accompany an unplanned shopping spree lead you to feel guilty or beat yourself up. This also leads to more emotional spending. It can turn into a vicious cycle of overspending and guilt.

Thankfully, there are ways that you can recover from shopping sprees and take back control of your money!

You don’t have to feel guilty when you overspend. Instead, you can change. You just have to believe change is possible for you. As long as you believe change is possible, the sky’s the limit!

The first step to stopping the overspending is to realize you’re doing it in the first place.

5 Steps To Recover When You Overspend And Blow Your Budget

1. Face the truth.

Awareness and facing the truth is the first step in recovering from overspending. There is freedom in the truth, and you have to face the fact that you’ve spent too much money.

Don’t beat yourself up. Just forgive yourself. Then make a promise to yourself that you’ll do what it takes to fix the situation and learn from it. You’re allowed to make mistakes. Own them and move on. You’re not perfect, and no one expects you to be perfect.

So look at yourself in the mirror, admit to your actions (even if they were childish), and declare that you’ll learn from this experience! Once you’ve done that, it’s time to find the root of the issue.

2. Identify the why behind your overspending

Next, identify why you spent too much money. This will help you prevent it from happening in the future.

  • Did you get too excited by the holidays and went a little crazy with gift-giving? Maybe you saw that everyone else had something nice and you were a little jealous.
  • Maybe you did not feel like cooking dinner.
  • Perhaps you got carried away on girl’s night.
  • Did you get too excited about your child’s birthday party?

Be completely honest with yourself and dig deep to find the purpose behind the spending. If you struggle with keeping up with your friends, practice finding contentment. Be appreciative and thankful for what you have. You can even start a daily gratitude journal for extra practice.

If your reasons lie deeper, seek out a friend or family member that you can talk to. Explain to them the “why” behind why you tend to overspend. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to others about the reasons behind your spending, then invest in a spiral notebook to start journaling. It’s important to determine the cause of your habits before you can fix them.

3. Create a plan to prevent overspending & to get you back on track AFTER overspending.

You wouldn’t try to lose weight without developing a meal plan and exercise schedule. Likewise, you shouldn’t just claim that you’ll “be better with money” without a set plan. If you are spending money that you don’t have or that you didn’t plan for, then it’s time to set some tools and practices in place to help combat your old habits!

Short-Term Plan:

Create a mini-budget from now until payday. A mini-budget is a temporary fix to help you get back on track when you overspend. You start it today, and you make it last until the next payday. If you’ve never done a mini-budget, read this.

Long-Term Plan:

Create a realistic budget. Most people just create a budget, but they don’t know if it’s realistic or not. If your budget isn’t realistic, you’re just wasting your time. It won’t work. You’ll just fail and stop making budgets.

If you want to learn how to create a realistic budget that you’ll actually stick to, I’ve got you! I have a FREE budgeting and debt payoff cheat sheet (sign up below!) where I’ll be walking you every step of the way as you create your budget.

In the free course, you’ll learn:

  • How to create a realistic budget.
  • Items that are most likely missing from your budget.
  • What you can cut from your budget.
  • How to use cash envelopes.
  • Methods for paying off debt fast.
  • How to keep everything organized.

4. Pay more than the minimum payment.

If you spent money on a credit card or you financed a large purchase, then it’s time to buckle down and pay more than your minimum payments!

Just because your credit card company is only asking you to pay $75 each month on your balance doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay more! Instead, do whatever you can to put extra money each month towards your debt.

Ways To Find More Money:

Regardless of how you find it, put any extra money towards your balance. I promise that your guilt will disappear when you are no longer paying for the purchases you made.

5. Stop spending money.

The best way to recover from overspending is to stop the cycle dead in its tracks. Here are some simple (yet very effective) quick tips to help you stop spending money:

  • Cut up your credit cards.
  • Leave your cards at home.
  • Carry cash when you shop.
  • Stick your credit cards in the freezer so you’re not tempted to use them.
  • Remove your credit/debit cards from online websites to make it harder to spend money.
  • Stop going out to eat (temporarily).
  • Take the Stop The Swipe course

For even more awesome ways to stop spending money, here’s a huge list.

Although cutting out spending might seem like the simplest thing to do, it’s something that a lot of people struggle with. Do everything you can to pause your spending and pay yourself back for those big purchases! If your overspending is a band-aid for deeper emotional issues, then you’ll have to deal with those problems to stop your spending habits.

Spending money may lead to temporary happiness, but it never leads to long-term peace and fulfillment.

Stop The Swipe (for good!)

I know that telling you to just stop spending money is easier said than done. If you would have had the willpower to do that, you would have already done it by now, right? If you need more help when it comes to overspending and blowing your money, I’ve got you.

This is exactly why I created Stop The Swipe. In the course, I will (virtually) hold your hand and navigate you through changing your bad money habits so you can finally take control of your money.

Let’s be real here, you work hard for your money. You should be keeping more of it and not blowing it. It’s totally possible to change your money habits and win with money. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.

It’s not healthy to continually have the thought of, “I feel guilty spending money.” You don’t have to cringe on opening your online banking app. You don’t have to do any of it. And I will show you how to do all of this and more in Stop The Swipe.

Successful Tips To Stop Overspending

1. Use cash envelopes for the categories you overspend on frequently.

You always spend more when you’re using a card. So, using cash will help you save money. When you walk into the store knowing you only have so much cash to spend, you are more cautious about adding impulse buys to the cart. Chances are, you’ll be less likely to stray from your list.

2. Create small actionable money goals.

Create small goals to help you with your overspending. It’s important to create small bite-sized goals that you’ll actually achieve. You want to get used to committing to a goal and then actually achieving it.

Grab my free Money Goals Printable to help you set and track three money goals each day. Visually seeing your progress helps you buy into the goal and makes you want to just keep going. You can grab your free Money Goals Printable HERE.

3. Automate a savings transfer.

Automating your savings deposit will help you save money without even realizing it. You know you can only spend the money in your account, and you won’t even miss the money that’s no longer there. You can really save up a ton of money over a short time!

$25 is a small enough target that it won’t really affect your quality of life. You can build up your emergency fund, sinking funds, Christmas budget, vacation fund, and more.

4. Realize your triggers for when you overspend.

Know and be aware of your spending triggers that cause impulse spending and overspending. What were you thinking when you continued to add items to your cart? What made you go get that manicure that wasn’t in the budget? Don’t beat yourself up. Just be aware of what’s happening and why it’s happening.

5. Wait before making a purchase that wasn’t planned for.

When you want to spend money that isn’t in your budget, wait three days. Make sure you really need it or really want it.

If it’s a want, see if you can put it in the budget for next month.

Is it a need? See if you can still wait until next month and put it into the budget.

Do you need it right away? See if you can move some things around in your budget so you can still get it now without blowing your budget.

6. Start an urge jar.

Go to the dollar store and grab a clear jar and a bag of pebbles. When you resist the urge to spend, put a pebble into the jar. This will help give you a visual and help you change the narrative playing in your head. You will be able to look at the jar and know that you’re getting better and better at managing your money. This will help you stop overspending and impulse spending.

7. Reward yourself when you don’t overspend.

Reward yourself when you don’t give in to the temptation to overspend. Your reward can be anything you decide. It can be going to a movie, some me time, a manicure, etc. Chances are you’ll spend less on rewarding yourself than you would have if you went on a shopping spree!

8. Delete shopping apps from your phone.

Deleting all of the shopping apps from your phone will help you stop overspending. If you want to buy something, you’ll have to go to their website to make a purchase. It’s more intentional. When you have the app on your phone, you might mindlessly open it and talk yourself into purchasing something before you know it. Or you might get a notification on your phone of a sale that costs you to overspend.

9. Delete social media apps from your phone.

Social media can cause you to get caught up in the comparison game. They will make you give in to the urge to spend more money because everyone else is doing it. You will feel compelled to go on that vacation you can’t afford or buy that expensive purse your Facebook friend just got.

Social media ads are bad news bears. Oftentimes, the ads relate exactly to what you’re searching for or who you’re following. AKA, they’re tailored perfectly to what you want. Remove the urge to overspend on these ads by removing social media (even if it’s just for a few days).

10. Unsubscribe from emails.

Just like social media, we can have advertisements for some of our favorite brands delivered right to our inboxes. Unsubscribe from all emails that entice you to spend. While you’re at it, stop giving people your email address. If you want to unsubscribe from emails without physically clicking on each and everyone, try unroll.me.

Unroll.me is a free app. You sign in to your email through the app, then it will go through all the subscription emails in your inbox. You will be able to determine what to do with each email.

There are three options for dealing with the emails:

  1. Unsubscribe
  2. Keep – This means the email will stay in your inbox like they are now.
  3. Rollup – Any email that is assigned to this category will be lumped together in one email per day. That way you can look at them in one long email instead of going through them one by one. It will help you clear up the clutter in your inbox. You will get 1 email instead of 10 (or however many emails or in your daily rollup email).

11. Check your expenses BEFORE you spend money.

Before you spend money, check your budget and expenses. See if you actually have room in your budget to make the purchase. Sometimes you might think you have room in your grocery budget for a quick run to the store. But when you actually add it up and get the real number, you realize you don’t have any more room in the budget for that store run.

Keep your bank account app on your phone, so you easily see your current balance when you’re on the go. This makes keeping track a non-hassle.

12. Calculate the number of hours you would have to work to pay for the item.

This is one of the best tips I tell people for when they are out shopping and tend to overspend with impulse purchases. Let’s pretend you want new Airpods. They cost $120, and you make $15 an hour.

In this scenario, you would have to work an entire day to pay for the Airpods. Is it worth a day of your life to get the Airpods? If not, walk away. If you still want them, save up for them and THEN purchase them when you have the money to pay cash for them.

13. Determine why you overspend.

Determining your “why” will help you out on the hard days. Why do you want to win with money? Why do you want to follow your budget? While you’re at it, decide on several whys. There’s no limit or magic number of whys. You can have more than one – even 10 of them if you want.

Examples of money “whys”:

  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Show your kids an example of how to manage your money.
  • Get out of debt for good.
  • Prove to yourself that it’s possible.
  • Retire a millionaire.
  • Retire early.
  • Be able to pay cash for your dream car.
  • Payoff your house early.

Whatever the reason, it will help you get through the tough times. It will help you put those Airpods back on the shelf until they’re within your budget.

14. Find an accountability partner.

Having an accountability partner can help you stop overspending. It can be your spouse or your best friend – you get to pick whomever you want. Set up some boundaries. If an item is outside of your budget, you have to talk it over with your accountability partner first. Or, if it’s a certain dollar amount, then you have to talk to your partner first.

You can stop overspending, you just have to be willing to believe you can. Just remember that if you do overspend, it’s okay. You’re not perfect! Don’t let the guilt gnaw at you. Follow the steps and just keep going. Just pick yourself up! Don’t let a bump in the road derail you and cause you to stay off track. And above all else, remember that buying things only leads to temporary joy.

Why do I feel guilty spending money on myself?

I feel guilty about spending money all the time. It’s hard to eliminate that gnawing feeling at the back of your mind when you spend money on yourself. When you come from a place of not having money or a history of debt, it’s hard to give up that fear of not having money.

That what-if is always there. What if you suddenly lose your job? Or a family member gets sick? Sometimes spending money even when you have it can feel scary. But that’s why we set up emergency funds for all those unexpected moments.

It’s important to think about whether or not you’re really overspending. Is it a true statement about your finances or a feeling of guilt? If you truly are spending more than you can afford, then it’s time to follow the tips I’ve listed above.

But if you are good at sticking to your budget, then you should have some wiggle room for fun. Life is much more than grocery shopping and utility bills. You want to include room in your budget for that monthly hair appointment, the girls’ weekend you’ve been planning forever, or that new pair of running shoes you’ve had your eye on.

It’s easy to always think that money could be better spent elsewhere, such as your investments, savings, or retirement plan. And money should be allocated for that too! But, there are dangers of burnout when following such a rigid budget.

In my experience, planning to spend money is the best way to avoid guilt. Knowing that you’ve made room for spending money on yourself means that you can really enjoy the reward of treating yourself guilt-free!

Need more help with your money?

If you want more help with your money, you have to check out my FREE budgeting and debt payoff cheat sheet that will help you create a realistic budget that will actually work for you WHILE paying off debt. I’ll be right there beside you, walking with you step by step as you overcome your bad money habits and create a plan for your money.

Inside the course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Not feel trapped by your money
  • Create a realistic budget that will actually work for your family.
  • Save money (even if that’s not your favorite thing).
  • Payoff your debt that you’ve been holding onto for years!

You CAN win with money – I believe in you!

Allison | The Inspired Budget
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • BonDiva BonDiva on Sep 07, 2023

    Hi you have combined so many of the best ideas and solutions from life and other methods I have used in a very nice format. Perhaps you could format it in a way that we could download it. A little laminated version to carry around for reminder mantras would be nice as well.