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Tricks to Curb Excessive Spending

[Apr 16, 2008.]


You already know this: you're probably spending more than you should be. And you're not alone. Nearly 60% of all Americans are carrying some form of debt, which means that more people than ever are living beyond their means and damaging their credit in the process.

But there are painless and simple ways to start curbing that spending and getting your credit back on track.

  • Freeze your credit lines – A simple trick that you can do is to take any of your credit cards (that you should stop using for now) and put them in a plastic cup of water. Take that cup of water and place it in the freezer to freeze solid. This will keep you from being able to use those credit cards, without actually damaging them in the process. And if there is an emergency in which you do need them, you can simply run the ice under warm water to thaw them out.

  • Create a waiting period – Whenever you want to make an unnecessary purchase that's over a certain amount of money ($50, $100, etc.), give yourself forty-eight hours to think about it. The initial rush of seeing the item that you want to buy may wear off after that time, leaving you able to keep that money unspent. And if you still want the item after that point, you can still go out and buy it.

  • Keep a money diary – Try writing down every cent that you spend each day, just as you would write down each calorie that you might eat. This allows you to have a visual representation of your spending habits and thus allows you to see just how excessive your spending has become.

  • Don't go to stores that tempt you – It seems simple enough, but simply avoiding a certain store for a period of time can help to reduce your spending dramatically. Some larger retailers that offer a large selection of items can be too tempting for those that like to spend money. But if you limit yourself to grocery shopping at a grocery shop, and your toiletries and health items at a pharmacy, you aren't going to be buying unnecessary items like electronics and clothing as much as you might have.

  • Be responsible to someone else – What you can also do is talk with a trusted friend or spouse about your excessive spending. They can be someone that you check in with to curb any impulses that you have. Just knowing that someone is there to help you out can be reassuring and can help you move past any tempting offers.


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