Money·3 min read

5 Signs You’re Spending Too Much Money (and How to Stop)

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
May 25, 2022

Even if you’re a budgeting pro, you could be overspending. Because experts agree that everyone has a “bad with money” moment from time to time. If you want to make sure you aren’t pouring money down the drain, there are a few signs you can look out for.

What are the signs I’m overspending?

A few red flags…

You don’t have a budget.

If you don’t keep track of your spending, you’re probably going overboard. And if you’ve tried a budget, but haven’t been able to stick with it, you’re definitely overspending. Set aside time to go through the details of your spending to create new habits.

Most of your paycheck goes to rent.

A popular rule of thumb says that housing costs should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. Otherwise, you might be overspending. Depending on where you live, though, it may be extremely difficult to get around this one. Hello, Miami.

PS: Remember, everything is up for negotiation. Including your rent.

You grocery shop on the weekends.

Most people save grocery shopping for the weekends. But mid-week is the best time to save, especially on short shelf-life items. Think: meat and dairy. Oh, and one more grocery tip to save a few dollars: skip the pre-cut produce.

Shopping is your favorite pastime.

If you cure boredom with online shopping or heading to the mall, there’s a big chance you’re spending too much money. Try moderation instead by setting a weekly spending limit for your shopping. That way, impulse buys are built into your budget and don’t have to derail your financial plan.

You haven’t looked at your subscriptions in a while.

Try to make reviewing your subscriptions a regular thing. Because it’s easy to forget about the ones you no longer use. Which leads to overspending.

What causes overspending?

There are lots of different reasons people slip into overspending. Sometimes, you simply don’t realize how much money you’re spending on a daily basis (hi, inflation). In other cases, an income boost can lead to more spending (hi, lifestyle inflation).

How do I stop overspending when I’m emotionally triggered?

Spending based on your emotions is a quick way to ruin your budget. Psst…retail is not therapy. If a bad day gives you the urge to whip out your credit card, here’s how to curb your emotional overspending.

Identify your triggers.

Experts say you should start tracking your mood to figure out what sets you off and gets you spending.

Say no to impulse buys.

Purchases made on a whim can add up fast. Curb the urge by committing to wait 24 hours before buying. Think: Does adopting that puppy really fit into your budget?

Fill in the gap.

Is there another, less expensive activity you can dive into instead of shopping? When you’re feeling down, try meeting up with friends or heading to a local park instead of making an impromptu trip to the mall.


No matter how good you are with budgeting, you’re at risk of overspending. Monitoring your spending on a regular basis is a great way to curb the splurge. And remember: You don’t have to up your spending just because you got that raise.

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