Unconventional Ways to Deal with An Out of Control Budget

OVERSPENDING- the biggest culprit of a messed up budget, an impulsive decision drawn from stress and feeding on our emotional snap.
I won’t be overstressing if I say we all at some point started our month full of determination and stern attitude of sticking to our budgets, being mindful of what and where we spend and avoiding the path to overspending.
Then came a moment of weakness where you Snapped! In this state of emotional vulnerability, you spend, being ruled by the attitude of ‘’A little is not going to hurt’’.
Many times you only overspend because you went shopping to uplift your mood or you got a promotion, and you thought, ‘’I deserve a new car’’.
Its’s Okay!
Overspending is an attractive trap.
We have all been caught in it at some point or another.
You have made a mistake now. And you might be bearing its consequences in the form of a tight budget over the next few days and inexpensive eating and buying.
You might even start feeling guilty over the things you bought.
This, together with not having much in your pocket for an unforeseen circumstance, puts you in a severe Buyer’s remorse.
But as they say, there is no point in crying over spilt milk.
Realizing and identifying your negative pattern is half the solution.
We will make the rest easy for you in this post.
Typical budgeting is not everyone’s forte.
I can say it with some experience because I have struggled in sticking to it, and I believe many people can relate to this.
It’s not only tedious exercise, but it’s also dreary.
It’s hard to sit down with a paper and pen, calculate your expenses, categorize, allot and then actually follow it religiously.
Somewhere along the way, you become lazy and simply give up.
Here are some tips for unconventional budgeting, where you don’t have to pen down your every burger and movie but are unconsciously saving up more and in a way, fixing your budget.

1. Start Afresh with Realistic Financial Goals

This is naturally the first thing to do after you have overspent and muddled up your budget.
Don’t give up, instead, Start Afresh, but this time with more realistic, attainable and easy to follow financial goals.
When you plan and make realistic objectives, you feel motivated and are more likely to stick to them and ultimately achieve them.
For example, instead of saying, I will not eat from outside this month, try, ‘’I’ll eat before I go out and then share an Entrée”, this way you will relish the experience of going out and will still be able to save.

2. Pay with Cash

Instead of using your credit and debit cards for everyday purchases and payments, draw out a fixed amount of cash for all your daily leisure spending.
Pay for take-out food, fuel, random off-the list grocery and online purchases with cash.
This way, you always have an account of how much you are spending, and the guilt of it might prevent you from going overboard.
To the very least, you will stop spending when you are out of your cash money.
This is like an automatic check.

3. Automatic Transfers

Automation is your best friend when you are not upright with savings.
The goal of automating is to save before you spend.
Schedule your transfers, for example, around the time you receive your paycheck.
This will ensure that some amount of money is automatically transferred to your savings account.
So instead of paying all the bills, doing all your groceries and then setting aside some amount for savings, you will begin by saving money first.
You can alter and adjust the sum amount at any point in time you want, but if you stay persistent and say, you save $50 every week, in a year you would have $2400 saved which is a handsome amount for a down payment of the car, any major repair or the vacation you have been planning for so long.

4. Don’t Carry Your Cards Everywhere

This is one of my favourites and something I have personally benefited from.
Just do not carry your cards everywhere you go.
To the very least, carry one.
Leave your credit card at home, in case you face an urge of impulse buying.
When you don’t have your card along, you will not fall into the trap of spontaneous buying.
Most of the things we buy are because we just saw them and felt the need.
“If you didn’t need it before you saw it, you don’t need it.”
Although there is nothing wrong with buying things that you want when you are trying to reach a financial goal, it’s imperative to cut back on some of your “Wants”.
Not carrying your cards along everywhere will help you a great deal in this aspect.
Don’t worry; this is only a short term sacrifice.

5. Steer Clear of Online Shopping

Now, this is a real challenge.
If you are using Facebook or Instagram, which you most likely are, it’s quite a struggle to stay away from the lures of sponsored shopping pages.
You repeatedly come across exactly the things you have been talking about, and this makes you jump right on the page.
Soon enough, you find yourself lost among hundreds of choices available and end up buying more than you needed from just a click of your phone.
How easy and convenient!
But how ruthless to your pockets!
So steer clear of online shopping as much as you can.
Especially in times like today, when we’re stuck amidst a pandemic, we prefer shopping online, which is commendable as per a precautionary measure. Still, we have often turned it against us, buying and stocking up things we don’t even need.

6. Wait Up for Sales

Now, this does not mean to go crazy over sales just because everything is at a discounted price.
You may actually end up giving more money to the stores.
It’s a trap they laid for you. Please don’t fall for it.
But if you have something in mind, that you want to purchase and it’s not your immediate need, for example, a designer dress, a gadget or a crib for your baby, then its best you wait for it to go on sale

7. Declutter and Avoid Stocking Up

This is probably the most untapped and unacknowledged way of saving money and fixing your budget after a couple of months of impulsive spending.
We are often always in such a hurry while doing our groceries that we simply keep adding things in the cart, thinking, “We’ll need them later’’.
When you declutter and organize your fridge, your kitchen cabinets, your cupboards, you come across so many things that you already had and just accidentally bought again.
A great way to curb overspending is to make sure you use whatever you already have before buying anything new.
Experiment with the ingredients left in your fridge and try out new recipes.
Let the shampoo and lotion bottles go empty before buying new ones.
Avoid stocking up.
Also, if you stock up in panic buying, there is not enough left for everyone. You might end up making things harder for someone who actually needed it.
Budget Apps
One easy resort is to let budgeting apps handle the difficult budgeting mathematics for you.
There are several paid and unpaid budget apps available that you can easily download and allow them to start fixing your budget for you.
The best Budgeting app for 20202 includes:
1. Mint, for efficient savings
2. YNAB and EveryDollar, for zero-based budgeting
3. PocketGuard, for a simplified budgeting snapshot
4. Clarity Money, for all aspects of budgeting
5. Goodbudget, for envelope system budgeting
6. Personal Capital, for investment management

Are You Up for It?

We need to lose a toxic mindset that feeds us that, “I have to do this perfectly or not at all”.
Overspending is something even the bests of us has done.
Don’t lose faith in your abilities to get hold of your finances back. S
tart little.



Jun Sing Tan

I help young adults and working professionals achieve their financial goals with a full suite of risk management and wealth accumulation solutions. I firmly believe that financial education should be easy and achievable for all. I am committed to service and hope to be your one stop financial solution.


Jun Sing Tan

November 23, 2020