Do you ever go to make a purchase, only to find out that you don’t have enough cash in the bank? While most of us have experienced that at least a few times, if it’s happening often, it might be an issue of overspending.

Overspending happens to the best of us but, with a few tips and tricks, we can all get a better handle on our money. And it starts with asking ourselves important questions that help us determine if we are, indeed, overspending. Let’s look at nine questions that will clarify if overspending is the culprit of your money woes.


1. Do You Know What You’re Spending Money On?

Many of us are not always aware how we’re spending money and how it could be spent, or saved, more efficiently. In fact, more than 80% of Americansadmit to wasting money on a wide range of stuff. From eating out and drinking to credit card interest and clothes - even on necessities like utilities – many of us spend our hard-earned money in ways we could avoid.

For example, we all know how much it hurts to throw that unused but spoiled chicken out. But there are ways we’re wasting that we may not know, such as overspending on utility bills. The first step in figuring out if you’re wasting money is by looking at your expenditures and - yep - creating a budget.

Speaking of budgets…


2. Do You Have a Budget?

Creating and balancing a budget is not how most want to spend their Friday night. Or any night, really. But if you don’t know how much you even have to spend, how do you know how much you should spend? Around 61% of Americans are in the same budgetless boat - and 34% of them carry credit card debt from month to month. Goes to show that a budget helps to avoid overspending.

Creating a budget doesn’t have to be equated with a restrictive diet; no one said you have to starve yourself of creature comforts or entertainment. It also doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by taking this quiz to learn your budgeting know-how, then use these tips to creating your very own budget.


3. Are You Honest About How Much You Spend?

At some point, many of us have lied about our age or student status to get that coveted discount. But the big issues come from when we lie to others about how much we make, what we’ve spent, whether or not we got a deal on a new purchase - or even hiding our purchases altogether.

No one wants to air their dirty laundry to the world. But lying to others about spending habits is one step away from lying to ourselves - and empty bank accounts and high credit card balances can’t lie. Taking a step in the right direction means taking an honest look at what we’re spending and how much.


4. Do You Heavily Rely on Your Tax Return?

One thing most of us anticipate each year is our tax return; it’s often the largest lump sum of money we get a year and most of us use it to catch up on bills. In fact, most people use tax returns as a means to save money in the first place - in order to later pay those bills. We intentionally set up our paycheck to have the max amount of funds removed so that at tax time we get a larger return. In theory, that’s smart, right?

Unfortunately, no. What sometimes ends up happening is that because we are getting more taken from our checks, we have less with which to pay our bills. This can result in late payment fees that could otherwise be avoided. One option is to speak with a tax advisor to see how much needs to be taken out to avoid owing at the end of the year, but still allows less to be taken out than the max amount.


5. Do You Have Emergency Savings or Contribute to Retirement?

Considering that almost half of all Americans spend as much as they make, the answer is no for most of us. With housing and transportation costs eating up a lot of our budgets, it can be difficult to find ways to cut back.

The other issue? A lot of people just don’t know how to save. The key is budgeting in order to find creative ways to put away few dollars a day - which can relatively quickly turn into a nice little nest egg. For example, putting away $3.00/day will net you over $1,000 in just one year.


6. Do You Pay Off Your Credit Card Balance Each Month?

Have you ever noticed how paying with a credit card feels emotionally less upsetting than paying with cash? Turns out, it’s a real thing. With credit cards, the loss of income is delayed; you don’t have to feel it until your credit card payment date comes around, and even then, you can easily only pay a portion of it to spread out the costs.

But this leaves you with a balance each month, one that’s hit with interest and starts to add up. Pretty soon, the purchase you made ends up costing you three times as much. Stick to a rule of thumb with credit cards - and any loan for that matter: Don’t borrow more than you can afford.


7. Are You Squeezing Your Paycheck to Next Payday?

Yes, the cost of housing and transportation is rising while our wages aren’t. That means we’re stretching an already thin paycheck that much further. But if you are left with only a few dollars or less in your account each pay period, it might be more than just a wage gap.

We can’t recommend it enough: Figure out what you’re spending money on then set a budget to better balance your account each week.


8. Do You Often Pay Bills Late?

Every once in a while, we may forget a bill is due. Maybe we’ll even intentionally wait to pay until right before the penalty fee kicks in. Frankly, sometimes it’s necessary for survival. But if we’re continually paying bills late each month, that’s a sure sign of overspending elsewhere.

Looking for ways to lower your bills is the antidote to overspending. Seek ways to save on your phone bill, utilities, and even your monthly subscriptions to help put more of that pay back into your bank account. 


9. Do You Have More Debt Than Income?

Your debt to income ratio does more than just stress you out; it can have a huge impact on your credit score, which then impacts your ability to get loans. And most Americans are in a significant amount of debt - the biggest culprit being credit cards (outside of mortgages and car loans).

Having more debt than income is a sure sign of overspending. Cutting back and downsizing are two tough but real options for spending less and saving more.


Overspending is an issue not just for Americans but for people around the world. Taking control of your spending can happen - you just have to be willing to take a close look at what you can live without. As you work through this process, remember that LendNation is here to help with a title, installment or payday loan if you need any help bridging the gap between paychecks - and by helping you learn more about your personal finances as you become financially free!