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Stop Overspending With This Simple Budgeting Trick

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Do you find yourself falling short of your savings goals or taking on debt because you can’t stop overspending?  

Have you tried budgeting but still struggle to control your spending?

Changing our spending habits is extremely difficult.

When you are used to a certain level of spending, it’s hard to teach yourself to spend less.

This was me a few years ago when I found myself on the overspending struggle bus. 

I had established new savings goals but was struggling to adjust my spending accordingly. 

This resulted in me not being able to both meet my savings goals and pay my bills. And it was frustrating as hell.

Budgeting did help me get to know my spending a bit better, but I still needed something more to really reel in my spending. I needed a way to learn what it feels like to live within my means and meet my savings goals.  I needed to tighten the reins.

So I hacked my budget and created a trick to rein in my spending which allowed me to  align my money with my all of my priorities.

Why this Trick to Stop Overspending Works

I won’t lie. This trick can feel a little restrictive at first.

But for the chronic overspender that I was, I needed this trick to get me to really understand what I could spend while still meeting savings goals and paying my bills. 

This trick prevented me from spending money I didn’t have and blowing my monthly budget. And more importantly, it taught me how to spend in a way that allowed me to meet all of my financial goals and pay those darn bills.

And I’m happy to say, I don’t use the trick for all of my expenses anymore. 

I was able to get away from it because I had learned what my spending needed to look and feel like if I wanted to meet all my goals. This trick was an effective way to get myself in the mindset of spending intentionally.

And this is why this trick is a game-changer for anyone struggling to stick to their budget, stay out of debt, or simply stop overspending

The Simple Budgeting Trick to Stop Overspending Now

Divide and Conquer

 Commit a portion of each paycheck to every expense and savings goal you have

This method is simple.

If you spend $300 per month on groceries and get paid bi-weekly, commit $150 every paycheck to that expense. Then promise yourself that you won’t spend more than $150 on groceries before receiving your next paycheck. 

This simple trick will help you create a budget will teach you how to live within your means.

It will push you to consider all of your expenses and savings goals, with every paycheck, instead of hoping you have enough money in your account when it comes time to pay your bills or put money in savings. 

By doing this, you ensure that your excess spending won’t prevent you from paying your upcoming bills. Or that paying your bills won’t limit your ability to buy groceries.

Often times we commit our first paycheck of each month to our bills, forgetting that we will still need to spend money on things like groceries and clothes. 

Or conversely, we buy our groceries and clothes first before considering the bills that are due. In both of these cases, it’s easy to continue the cycle of overspending.

This trick will help to make sure we have the money to pay our bills and buy our groceries when we need to. 

I started using this Divide and Conquer trick when I was constantly dipping into my savings to pay my bills each month. I overspent because I didn’t understand how much I could spend each paycheck while still having enough money left over to pay my bills. 

Below is the step-by-step guide to implement the Divide and Conquer strategy including a downloadable spreadsheet. It is a simple process that will help you determine how much of every paycheck to commit and spend on each expense before your receive your next paycheck, in order to prevent overspending.  

Note: If you already budget, you may have already completed some of these steps and can likely skip to step 4.

Divide and Conquer to stop overspending

1. Determine Your Monthly Take-home Pay

Get out those pay stubs and figure out how much money you expect to bring in each month and how many times you will be paid. 

If you want to keep it simple, you can disregard the fact that some months may include an “extra” paycheck. For example, if you get a paycheck for $1,000 bi-weekly, assume you’ll get paid twice per month and will have $2,000 to spend each month. 

step_1_divide_and_conquer

2. Create a List of ALL Expenses and Savings Goals 

Your bills come first. 

Make a list of ALL of your bills, and don’t forget to include those non-monthly bills such as water or insurance premiums. For those non-monthly bills, estimate how much you would need to save each month in order to pay your bill when it comes due. 

Next, list out all of your other expenses, such as groceries, clothes, spending money, car maintenance, etc. This list can get quite long, so don’t worry if you have a large list. 

For the expenses that are hard to predict, like car maintenance, do your best to guess how much you think you’d spend each month. 

And don’t forget to include you savings goals!

step_2_divide_and_conquer

3. Determine How Much of Your Monthly Income will be Used Towards Each Expense

Again, start with determining how much money will be needed for your bills, as many of them will be the same amount each month, making it easy.

Then continue down your list of expenses until all of your expected monthly income is assigned to an expense or savings goal. 

step_3_divide_and_conquer

4. Divide Each Monthly Expense Amount by the Number of Paychecks per Month

Go to your list of expenses and savings goals and divide each by the number of times you will get paid each month. 

This will be the dollar amount from each paycheck that you should allocate to each expense after you get paid.

For example, if your electric bill is $100 per month, and you get paid bi-weekly, you would set aside $50 from each paycheck to cover your electric bill.

step_4_divide_and_conquer

5.  Commit to Covering A Portion of Each Expenses with Every Paycheck

This trick won’t work without commitment. And it’s gonna’ be tough, especially in the beginning. If you allocated $50 dollars per paycheck to buy groceries, commit to spending $50 or less. 

And don’t get frustrated if you can only allocate a smaller amount of money to some categories. For example, maybe you only allocate $20 per paycheck for clothes. It doesn’t mean you have to only buy clothes that cost less than $20. 

The good news is that the money, when left unspent, increases with each paycheck.

If you don’t spend anything on clothes during that pay cycle, then that $20 carries over to the next pay cycle. So now you have $40 to possibly buy that new pair of jeans when you get that next paycheck. 

step_5_divide_and_conquer
You Will Be Asked to Make a Copy

You Got This

Overspending is a bitch. And changing spending habits is hard.

Sometimes it takes a trick to snap us out of our old habits and establish new ones. 

Using the Divide and Conquer trick helped me reel in my overspending and create new spending habits that allowed me to live the life I wanted while meeting my savings goals. 

It taught me how to align my money with my priorities. 

While this method helped me with my savings goals, it can be used to help you get out of debt or simply stop overspending in its tracks. 

It’s a powerful trick, that can have a lasting effect on how you approach your spending.

Go ahead. Take the plunge. Divide that paycheck and conquer your overspending.

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2 Responses

  1. the key for us is to not feel it necessary to spend up to the whole amount if you don’t need to. you said it when you mentioned it doesn’t mean you need to only buy a $20 shirt, but if you want an $80 shirt it takes 4 checks to save for it.

    good mental spending tricks are priceless. we’ve been using a bucket system for major expenses like travel, property tax, and gifts since around 2006. we even save up fun money separately for the “whatever the hell i want to buy with it” category.

    1. That’s a great way to think of it, Freddy! You don’t always have to spend the entire amount you budgeted! I also love your “whatever the hell I want” category. I think I’m that as a category in YNAB.

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Picture of Melody Creator of Cash for Tacos

Hi! I’m Melody and I want to help you create a vision for your life and provide you the necessary tools to use your money to make your vision a reality. 

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