Here’s a clever idea that might help you manage an out of control spending habit. Use the built-in alerts that your bank offers to help you manage your overspending. It can be surprisingly motivating if you actually pay attention to them. Plus it helps you keep your bank balance in mind before you overdraw your account.
It’s a little bit harder than it used to be to keep track of our bank accounts. Back in the day (yes, I’m OLD!) we used to write checks for everything and you’d keep a little register to keep a running total of your bank balance. But now with everything being all debit cards and various types of automatic payments (see my post on Why Auto-Renew is Such a BAD Idea), it’s harder and harder to keep track of your bank balance. Most people just sort of guess and check online once in a while – not a great option.
What if you were really serious about getting your spending under control? You could set it up so that your husband gets an Email every time you spend XXX amount of money. Or your mother? It would be pretty embarrassing, but it would certainly be a good deterrent!
I have some serious overspending issues and sometimes have a friend act as an accountability partner. I’ll tell them what store I’m going to, what I’m planning to buy and how much I’m planning to spend. Then at the end of the shopping trip, I have to text them my receipt and explain any extra purchases. That is surprisingly powerful, just to know that someone else will know if you slip. But you only want to do that with a good friend who is invested in helping your improve. It’s kind of like those Weight Watcher Coaches to keep you on your food plan.
“What if you were really serious about getting your spending under control?”
A couple of guys were talking outside my cubicle at work the other day. They were joking about having to “bird-dog” their wives spending on a daily basis to keep it under control. One the one hand, I thought it was pretty disrespectful, but on the other hand, I could see their point. If their wives were crazy spending and not making reasonable attempts to keep it under control. See my post on toxic money behaviors.
I’ve had that trouble with my husband sometimes. I’ll have money set aside for bills or groceries and it ends up getting spent at Home Depot or Checker Auto – ooops! Now I know IMMEDIATELY when he’s done that, so we can take some kind of evasive action before the account goes overdrawn. And I can make sure he replaces the money come payday.
With most major banks, it is possible to set up all kinds of alerts, and I use them – a lot. I do leave my husband out of it. Instead, I let the bank yell at me directly. Obviously, they don’t actually YELL at me, but I do get daily Emails for all sorts of things. I get alerts if I let my savings balance drop below a certain range, if I spend more than a certain amount on my Visa, or if my checking account hits rock bottom.
This helps in several ways. It’s kind of a pesky nag point for me to want to get my balances back where they are supposed to be – it is such a relief when the Emails stop after a period of weeks or months! It also acts as an automatic fraud alert in case someone charges a bunch of stuff on my credit cards or checking account. Those darn little bank alerts are a pretty handy little tool, if you use them correctly.
What ways can you think outside the box to outsmart your money?
Here are some other posts you might enjoy:
10 Secrets of Women Who Always Have Money
Financial Tips To Help Your Future College Student
The Biggest Financial Mistake Women Make