There are a number of tools people can use to put a stop to overspending, including using shopping lists to organize, converting to cash-only spending, and seeking counseling for shopping addiction. Overspending can contribute to the rise of personal debt and may be a sign of underlying emotional issues that need to be resolved. In some regions, free counseling and assistance may be available through government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Banks and credit unions sometimes carry brochures with information on free debt and finance counseling.
One important step people can take to stop overspending is to pay by cash when possible, with checks and debit cards as a close second. This can prevent expenditures of money people do not have. While it may be advisable to keep a credit card available for emergencies, other cards should be canceled or destroyed so they are not available. If an account has outstanding debt, a payment plan should be built into the budget to pay off the card so it can be canceled.
Organizing shopping lists can also be helpful for people with an overspending problem. By making a list at home and sticking to it, people can prevent impulse purchases. For shoppers who enjoy window shopping or browsing stores, doing so without a wallet can cut down on overspending. Some people find it helpful to set a small amount of money aside for fun purchases so they can reward themselves for staying on track while sticking with a plan to get overspending under control.
Tight budgeting can also be helpful. Envelope budgeting, a very old technique for managing money, can help people control their spending and see how much money they spend. In this technique, money for various expenses like rent, groceries, and utilities is set aside in envelopes. People can also use tokens instead of cash to represent the budgeted funds. When the money in an envelope runs out, no more funds are available for that purpose.
Counseling may also be important for someone who overspends compulsively and has difficulty stopping. A counselor or therapist can work with a client on managing impulse shopping issues and may be able to provide additional financial advice and support. Counselors can also help with debt management, including establishing plans to pay off debt or negotiate debts down to make them manageable. People who cannot afford counseling may qualify for free assistance and can ask for information on their options from an agency or organization dedicated to consumer debt and related topics.