I’ve invited my friend Nicole again this month to discuss budgeting with you. It’s hard to reach our goals if we don’t know what our triggers for spending are or how to manage them. Rollercoaster spending is easy to fall into, and I’m thankful Nicole is here to help us understand why and how we can curb that.
Whelp, it happened again.
It starts with a need, it’s never totally frivolous. But I get caught up, it becomes easier and easier to whip that debit card out of my wallet and all of a sudden I have over-done it.
This is rollercoaster spending.
Rollercoaster spending is a tricky beast. You might go a long time doing #allthethings right, sticking to your budget, not overspending in any area. You have nailed this money thing! You rock!
And then it creeps in again. You need a new dress for a wedding, your kid needs a new summer wardrobe and those pillows are so cute!!
It happens to me too, people.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If rollercoaster spending is your bad money habit, know that it never fully goes away. You can’t cure yourself.
But you can learn how to manage it. You can learn how to recognize the triggers for rollercoaster spending and course correct faster.
Overspending triggers can be big life events like:
- buying a house
- having a baby
- going on vacation
During these periods we aren’t spending money like we normally do and things are harder to manage. It’s easier for spending to get out of control because you are already spending on things you wouldn’t normally, and you are probably not watching it closely.
Other triggers can be smaller like:
- receiving a big chunk of money
- deciding to spend money in one area (i.e. buying some new clothes, or re-decorating a room)
Once you get in the habit of having a bit more money, or spending a bit more money, it’s easy for that habit to spill over into other areas of your budget.
Once you recognize that you have been overspending and it’s time to reign it in, don’t berate yourself for getting caught up yet again. The mere fact that you are reading this right now, that you caught yourself in a trigger means you are working on your habits. So Congratulations! Your habits will improve over time.
Then, you have to look at the numbers (or the damage). Looking at the numbers gets you back to reality and grounded back into a plan for your money. If feels good to go back to a system, back to a plan, back to being responsible.
If that isn’t enough to help squelch the spending, force yourself to go bare bones on spending for a while. This helps to retrain your brain that you don’t go to Target every week for random shopping. Hang out in the other end of the spectrum for a few weeks to help your habit course correct.
Will you end up on the rollercoaster again? Probably.
But recognizing what the triggers are likely to be will help you catch yourself faster, or even plan ahead for spending events. This isn’t about being a perfect budgeter or never having any fun with your money. It’s about understanding the behavior that drives your spending and making sure that YOU are running the show, not your mindless habits.
Nicole Cooley is a Money Coach who helps her clients build tangible spending, debt and savings plans while exploring limiting beliefs and value alignment. Her company Money With Moxie teaches women to be powerful with money and use it as a tool to design their ideal life. “Ready to start managing your money better but don’t know where to start? Get the exact budgeting categories Nicole uses for her family (plus more great bonuses) in her free Budgeting Starter Kit.“