How to Stop Overspending
There is nothing complicated about money. Money is an external resource for achieving goals. It’s kind of a simple thing that sounds like “Just keep a balance of expenses and income and don’t go into debt. How to eliminate the cause and overcome the problem of overspending? The answer is that money has nothing to do with it. It’s all about people, our thinking habits and unmet needs.
We Buy Things to Feel Better
Beautiful things help us look even more beautiful. Useful things help us feel even more useful. We are missing something all the time. But remind, after you spent a lot of money on unplanned expenses, did you feel better? Rather, you felt guilty that you’ve bought so many things, beating yourself up for lack of self-discipline.
The overspending formula is simple — if you don’t like your life, you will overspend money.
What is the Cause of Overspending?
Overspending is a psychological addiction. When our fundamental psychological needs are not satisfied but we are not aware of this, we spend more money and buy things that we don’t need. We feel anxiety and begin to close the black hole inside with something external so as not to feel lonely and bad. This is how tricky the addiction mechanism looks like.
What Does the Money Have to Do With Our Needs?
Money helps us satisfy our most important psychological needs for security, belonging, self-worth and autonomy.
When we have money, we feel protected. When it’s very anxious and scary to live in the world, things bought give at least some safety, stability and comfort.
When we spend money, we feel that we’re coping with this life. We feel our worth as a person with the help of money. Our self-worth depends on how much money we have, but it’s important to understand that overspending is not the only option on how you can increase your self-esteem. What else can you do to feel self-worth?
Money satisfies the need for autonomy and the desire to control the situation. We can afford a lot and feel a certain power in our hands when we spend money.
What is Wrong with Tips on Making Relationships with Money?
Many of them are based on the philosophy of limitations — to save, choose only for survival, but not by heart choice, spend money on the needs of others before you meet your needs. If you think that you just don’t have enough self-control, you’re mistaken. Self-control won’t help here. The formula of overspending sounds like: the more you limit and control yourself, the more tension you feel, which in turn leads to overspending and then this behavior confirms your idea about lack of self-control. That’s how a cycle of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior support the problem of overspending. We depend on our thoughts and feelings, but thoughts and emotions are only part of us.
How to Get out of an Overspending Cycle?
If limitations don’t work and cause addiction, then what is the effective way? We find the answer on the opposite side — these are beliefs about the world, based on permissions. This is a completely different mindset and it sounds like “I’m free and I always have a choice.”
A person who thinks like “I’m worthy and I allow myself”, does what he or she wants. So we don’t need to control ourselves. All we need is to realize and meet our needs. We are already motivated and always want to do what we like. Our true desires help us to develop and move on. It’s not about the control and external rules on how it should be. Our actions always speak about our desires.
Inner Healthy Adult, Inner Child, and Inner Parent
A healthy adult inside us helps us to build an effective relationship with money. Each of us has a healthy adult part, which, like an orchestra conductor, controls conflicting internal aspirations — the parent’s and the child’s parts.
Overspending affects people with an unhealthy adult part. They have an active part of the inner child but a part of the inner parent is not developed. The inner child is responsible for our wishes, the child shouts “I want it!” and spends a lot of money thoughtlessly. The inner parent is a controller and critic, who says “No, now you have to do more useful things, you shouldn’t want it” and you will save on everything. Do you remember the guilt from mindless spending and the growing tension from restrictions? These are our inner child and inner parent. It turns out the following picture: The inner child either loses self-control or suffers and cries when the parent criticizes him. The inner parent punishes and criticizes, evoking feelings of guilt and anger for such acts.
This is how internal conflicts between “want” and “should” are formed. To solve them, it‘s important to turn to your healthy adult part, which is capable to look at the situation from above and lead both inner child and inner parent.
Being addicted to your impulses is hell. You have no freedom of choice when impulses control your thoughts and actions. It is important to learn how to turn on your regulator between these impulses. Remember that you have a choice — a space to stop, think and decide whether to follow your wishes or not.
Money management is an emotional management
So how to choose whether to spend money or not? The answer is to learn to control yourself. Well, before spending a significant sum of money, stop and ask yourself:
– Why do I need it?
– What do I miss?
– What do I really want? Maybe it’s a talk with my friend, hugs or new experiences… Maybe I’m lonely, sad and I just want to cheer up?
– What else can I do to feel better, without spending money?
And the most important question: what problems do I avoid in my life?
Another way to help overcome unnecessary expenses is to have a goal in life. Work towards your goal, whether it’s traveling or buying a house, and save a certain amount of money each month. Remind yourself that the money you save will go towards a larger goal that matches your true values. Before you buy something, ask yourself: will it help me get closer to my long term goal?
Financial Health Starts with Mental Health
Financial health can only be experienced through real-life experience. Try to notice and meet your needs using internal resources, not the money. You see, all money cannot be earned and all things cannot be bought.
Money is about your energy. How much percent are you charged? Do you feel free, filled with strength and energy? You can notice that energetic people full of vital resources have a lot of money.
There is one crucial thing: when you change inside, things change around you. The decisions you make on budget planning can both help or prevent you from doing what you want in life. There is no need to control yourself when you do what you want because you believe that you are doing everything right.