Keep Your Spending On Track: 5 Tips to Avoid Overspending

by - January 15, 2022

One of my goals for this year, the biggest in fact, is getting my finances back on track. After a crazy 2020 and a not-much-better 2021, let's just say that I'm not not exactly where I'd like to be money-wise. I feel like I've been playing catch-up for the better part of a year, and now it's time to really knuckle down and start moving forward.

For me, the three biggest financial goals I have for this year are to pay down my debt, build up my savings, and resume adding money into my IRA.

But how exactly do I plan on doing that? I don't claim to be an expert, by any means, but I want to be smarter about my money and what I do with it. So I've been scouring financial sites for the best practices that make the most sense for me, and these are the 5 tips I'll be following to avoid overspending this year.


Create a Budget & Stick to It

This one seems a bit obvious, but it's also the most difficult. It is so easy to go off budget, especially when your usual income has suddenly decreased.

When I first started working at the television station way back when, I made very little and had the tightest budget imaginable. I budgeted for literally everything. And as ridiculous as it sounds to say that I budgeted $50 each month for extras, it's what kept me from spending money I didn't have at the time. And, quite honestly, it's a model that I'll be revisiting this year.

Click here for more tips on how to stick to your budget.

Make Shopping Lists

This is one of those things that I swear by, regardless of if I'm grocery shopping or making a purposeful trip to Target. It's not always easy to stick to the list, especially in Target, but making the list helps to give me an idea of what I'll be spending, and having the list helps me plan my route through the store so I'm less likely to veer off into a distraction section.

Shop Smarter

I wrote an entire post about this last year, and I still stand by everything in it, but for the sake of posterity I'm going to focus on the one question that has served me best over the years. Before buying an article of clothing ask yourself if you can wear said item with at least three other things you already own. Whether that's being able to pair a dress with three different style of shoes or a top with three different bottoms. If the answer is no, and you don't have to have this particular item for a specific event or reason, put it back.

Use Cash When Possible

This is my favorite tip because it is so simple but so effective. By only taking as much cash as you need, you force yourself to stick to a budget. As Money Crashers so eloquently puts it, when the money runs out, you're done spending. Simple as that.

Cancel Some Subscriptions

This is actually something I've been looking into. Between all the streaming services and other random things, subscription fees can really add up each month, and I can guarantee you there's something you're not using that you've forgotten about. Experian also suggests finding ways to share little-used subscriptions with family and friends, which I think is a great idea.

What are some things you do to keep your spending on track?

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