Put an end to overspending

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Overspending is as American as apple pie, but you don’t have to make a habit of impulse buying. I’m Katie Doyle with the Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

It may seem obvious that people should ask themselves whether they can afford something before buying it. But answering that question is more complicated than just knowing whether you have room on your credit card or cash in your checking account to cover it.

Living on a budget can help this issue. Set limits for different types of categories of spending, such as clothing and entertainment, and track how much you have left to spend in each category on a daily basis. Whether you do that by stuffing your cash in envelopes or putting together a spreadsheet, the goal should be the same — knowing what you can spend before you go shopping.

Affordability shouldn’t be the only factor when you’re deciding on a purchase. Lots of people can tell you it’s very possible to make a stupid or regrettable purchase you can easily afford.

Whatever method you use to sensor your spending, remember you can still enjoy shopping, even on a budget.

For more on this and other personal finance topics, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Katie Doyle.