Do you run out of cash, or run into credit card debt every month? Ask the following questions to help you pinpoint spending problems.
Is impulse shopping an issue?
Impulse shopping can be hazardous to your financial health. And you don't have to go to the mall and spend your entire paycheck in one afternoon to feel the pain. Many people get into trouble with a bunch of smaller impulse spends that add up fast.
Don't go to the grocery store when you are hungry, as that can cause you to overspend on food.
Other impulse shopping problems include getting a great introductory rate on something and forgetting to cancel later, or those notoriously pricey trips to discount stores that lead into doubling "needs" that are actually wants.
Is my cost of living too expensive for what I earn?
In the down economy, many of us are thankful just to have jobs. But while bonuses, raises and perks have taken a nose dive in the last four years, the cost of living has not moved an inch for many people.
If you're finding it hard to make ends meet every month, perhaps your living expenses -- rent, utilities, homeowners association fees and insurance -- are the culprit. No matter what you make or what you spend on living expenses, you must assess and negotiate.
A simple call to a financial institution or credit card company can lead to a quick negotiation to lower interest rates or waive fees. Additionally, it may be time to have an honest chat with your boss. Do some research to find out your true worth in the marketplace, and let your boss know you need more money.
Which habits cause me to overspend?
Factors such as stress, grief, life transitions and social influences can all lead to overspending. Simply taking a few minutes to look at your life and where you seem to be bleeding out the most cash can lead to powerful revelations about your spending.
Maybe you eat too much -- and spend too much on food -- as a means of coping with stress. Or maybe you have started a new job with new co-workers, or have become involved with a new social circle. If so, are you spending just to "keep up with the Joneses"?
Being aware of these influences can help limit their impact on your life.