Stop Over-Spending by Over-Responding

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One interesting concept I learned in CoachU’s coach training program was the idea of over-responding. This is not over-reacting, which is a knee-jerk response. Rather, over-responding is carefully thinking over the situation. Then deliberately over-respond with a series of solutions.

When something “bad” happens to us, it is often self-created (not always, but often).

So we have to look at how we created this event in our lives. Was there some action on our part that led to this event? How can we prevent such an event from occurring again? Most of the time, people react to a catastrophe or blame others. Sometimes they respond to an event, but rarely do they over-respond.

Going back a few years, my husband and I discovered we were overspending—spending more money than we were earning for a total of six months. A knee jerk reaction would be to get angry and blame your partner. “It is your fault—you spent all that money buying furniture we don’t need!” A response might be, “Let’s stop spending going forward and postpone doing the home renovations until we can save up the money.”

Over-responding is to come up with a complete plan of action to solve the problem and make sure we don’t fall into this situation again.

Here was ours:

  1. Hire a bookkeeper to go over every single receipt, credit card and check purchase we had made since January to see exactly where our money had gone. The categories are specific, no more “Miscellaneous.” We have continued to keep these detailed records going forward.
  2. Review this detailed information together and determined where we could reduce expenses without reducing our quality of life.
  3. We agreed to meet monthly to discuss our finances and come to joint decisions about major purchases.
  4. Put a 30-day hold on all major purchases to eliminate impulse buying. (Read the related article, Go On A Money Diet here ).
  5. We each have the same amount of “mad” money that we don’t have to account to our partner for and can use to buy stuff the other may not appreciate or want. We both have the need to feel unrestricted and this gives us the freedom to go a bit “mad” without blowing the budget, or feeling we have to get permission to make a personal purchase.
  6. Contact the bank to get extended overdraft protection.
  7. Investigate borrowing to complete our home renovations.
  8. We are both creating plans to generate more income, not just cut expenses.
  9. I’m currently researching books on couples and money to see if there are other ideas we are missing that might be helpful.

How can you over-respond to a problem you are facing in your life right now? Do more than “just enough” to solve the problem. Think “permanent lifetime solution.” One permanent solution is to eliminate overspending by satisfying your personal and emotional needs. Take the free Emotional Index Quiz here to find out your own Top 4 Emotional Needs.

Learn more about financial freedom in the FIRE course.

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