money health weekly


How to Stop Overspending - Hit Pause


"Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become."

-James Clear


I'm in my room looking at my bookshelf, counting all the books I have not read. I wonder to myself how I got so many of these. Why don't I read them? Why do I keep buying them? It seems like both a waste of money and a waste of space.

A day later, I see someone reading a book on the bus as I ride into work. I walk into the office, say hi to everyone, log into my computer, and go look at the book online. I buy it.

I have always been curious about many different topics. That's my stimulus. I come across a book about astrophysics, the brain, or death, and I imagine myself wanting to be the kind of person who knows that stuff. Because of that, I buy them immediately. That's my response.

I have no space in between the stimulus (my impulse) and my response (my purchase).

Fast forward 13 years to today, and I now keep different lists for books that I THINK I want to buy. There are easily 25 books on these lists right now. I'm glad I haven't bought them yet, because I don't have the time to read 25 extra books. Some of them stay and I eventually buy and read them, but many of them get deleted when I realize I'm never going to read it.

Introducing space in between these stimuli and my response has helped me stop overspending on books.

Increasing the space between stimulus and response helps with more than just books, it helps us make purchases with more intention, and curb our overspending.

increase the space between stimulus and response to stop overspending

Money Is Stressful

Money is among the most stressful things in our lives. More than 60% of Americans say that money is the top stressor in their lives. Further, it's one of the top contributors to marital strain. It's hard to think about, it's hard to talk about, and it's hard to handle.

money is stressful and can cause overspending

Just because 38% of people say that money is not their TOP stressor doesn't mean that it's not stressful. With some exceptions, money is stressful for all of us.

money is stressful and causes overspending

It's no wonder money is so stressful for most of us. A large percentage of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck - meaning, a third of us have little or no room in our financial management to weather a missed paycheck.

people living paycheck-to-paycheck can overspend

You might be living paycheck-to-paycheck yourself. If you're not, you might be tempted to think this is only a phenomenon for people at or near poverty. But, the people living below the poverty level make up only a fraction of those living paycheck-to-paycheck.

people in poverty are only part of the people who live paycheck-to-paycheck

That means that, even if every single household in poverty is paycheck-to-paycheck (which isn't