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Does it feel like you’ve been hemorrhaging money lately? Whether it be surprise bills, special events, or just rampant stress-shopping, sometimes our spending gets out of hand. Here’s how to regain control.
How To Stop Hemorrhaging Money
The best ways to stop hemorrhaging money are to have an emergency fund, have a sinking fund, and do your best to keep stress shopping under control. If you do these things, you will be able to manage any unexpected expense that pops up, emergency or not.
But these things aren’t always realistic in the moment. If you don’t have an emergency fund and are hemorrhaging money, being told to have an emergency fund probably isn’t helpful.
What to Do When You Are Hemorrhaging Money
Regardless of the reason, hemorrhaging money can make you feel like you are out of control. The first step to regaining that control is to take a step back and catch your breath. The stress of overspending can easily lead to more overspending. The next step is to identify the reasons why you are overspending.
Why Are We Bleeding Money?
Did you have a lot of emergencies and surprise bills pop up lately? I just had to spend four hundred dollars to fix a heating wire. And next week, I’m going to spend another five hundred dollars to fix the insulation. Earlier this year, I spent over four thousand dollars on vet bills for my cat. This entire year has felt like a giant financial emergency (so much for a no spend year, but I tried!).
The best defense against hemorrhaging money in an emergency is to have an emergency fund. The money is there when you need, and having that buffer will help you feel more in control.
Let’s be realistic though, if you feel like you are hemorrhaging money due to emergencies, you probably don’t have an emergency fund (or not a fully funded one). Well now is the best time to start! Open an account today and start putting a few bucks in it each paycheck. The next emergency will be less stressful and much easier to manage.
Since you aren’t at that next emergency yet, the best advice I can offer is to try to cut spending in other places to deal with the emergency. Cheap out on groceries for the next few weeks, skip the date night, and bring lunches to work. Controlling your spending in other places will help you weather the storm of the emergency.
A final resort is to use a credit card to pay for the emergency, and then consolidate the credit card debt into a personal loan with a company like Upstart. The interest rates are much lower, so you will save money in the long run.
Sometimes, lots of stuff just pops up all at once. And yeah, maybe we knew about some of them and should have planned better, but maybe some of them crept up on us. It happens, right? I had a bunch of stuff sneak up on me in August and September. First, there was Fincon. I had already paid for the tickets, but I hadn’t even considered lodging. Four hundred dollars was gone right there.
Another pop-up expense was my plane tickets for LA. I planned this trip months ago, but I thought I’d be able to use my American Airlines miles. Unfortunately, the AA miles program sucks, so I had to pay out of pocket. Another four hundred dollars gone.
That’s not all though. There are small special events that also eat away your money. My niece’s birthday is coming up, and I completely forgot about that. I also really wanted to go to the RV show and the Renaissance Fair (both for research for future goals, of course). All those things cost money.
The best way to stop special events from sneaking up on you and eating all your money is to plan for them. Mark your events in your calendar, so you know when they are coming and can put money aside for them with each paycheck. If you haven’t yet, open up a sinking fund. This is a separate bank account where you save for specific things. I have a sinking fund for both travel and home repairs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough in either of those funds to cover all of the travel and home repair expenses, but the little bit I did had helped me not to use all my emergency fund.
A final resort is to skip the event. I didn’t have to go to any of these things, and if I really couldn’t afford them, I wouldn’t have gone. It hurts psychologically to lose that money, but I’m not skipping meals or raiding my investments to go to them. If you’d have to do those things, maybe you should put the special event off.
A big way we hemorrhage money is through rampant, uncontrolled shopping. Sometimes, when we feel bad about ourselves, we just want to buy all the things. And sometimes, when we are hemorrhaging money in other ways, buying all the things makes us feel more in control of our spending. I know it doesn’t make logical sense, but it’s a real experience for tons of people.
A great way to prevent yourself from stress shopping is to relieve the stress in a healthier way. Check out this post on healthy ways to handle stress for some ideas. Another way to prevent it is to avoid the situation. If you know you can’t manage a trip to the mall without buying all the things, avoid the mall. The same is true with dining out if you tend to stress eat, and opening up that Amazon app if you tend to drunk shop online.
Another thing you can do to limit your spending is give yourself an allowance. If you must go to the store, only take enough cash to buy what you need, and leave the credit cards at home. Set a spending limit on your debit card that you can’t go over. These protections will help prevent you from spending uncontrollably.
Families often overspend because they are over-extended. There is just not enough money to pay all of the bills. This is an unfortunate reality for millions of people. Sometimes, there are things you can cut back on to save a few bucks – you can look for ways to save at the grocery store, downsize your house, or cut non-essentials like cable. But sometimes you’ve cut everything there is to cut, and still can’t make ends meet.
Increasing your income can help in situations like this. You can pick up a side hustle such as designing T-shirts, writing for Hubpages, or even online bookkeeping. There are tons of articles on various side hustles all over the internet – check out this post from I Like to Dabble and this one from Arrest Your Debt for some ideas.
I’ve Stopped Hemorrhaging Money, but Now I’m in Debt up to my Eyeballs
An unfortunate side effect to a few months of hemorrhaging money for whatever reason can be tons of debt. And then it becomes cyclical. You are now bleeding money to pay the credit card bills that stacked up due to the original issues. Then, if something else pops up, you get into even more debt. It’s a vicious cycle of emergency, debt, repayment, more emergencies – and sometimes it feels like you can’t escape.
If you can relate to this, maybe it’s time to check out a debt re-consolidation loan. My favorite is Upstart. They look past your credit score and look at you as an actual person, not just a number. They also have much lower rates than most credit card companies, so you will save a ton of money on interest payments. Click here to check them out and see if it’s right for you.
How Do You Control your Spending?
You’ve heard all of my ideas and advice on how to get rampant spending out of control, but now I want to hear from you and your friends! Leave a comment and tell me your best tips on how to stop hemorrhaging money, and share this post on social media so I can learn from your friends as well!