How Do You Identify an Overspending Problem?

How do you tell the difference between a genuine overspending problem and well, just having kids?

As I’m currently on maternity leave, my income is obviously significantly reduced, so of course the last thing I want to do is to develop unhealthy spending behaviours.

It’s fair to say that I’m not sticking to the budget that I spent many a wee hour tweaking thanks to my pregnancy-related insomnia. I really want (need) to get a handle on my spending before things get problematic.

I don’t think I’m spending compulsively, as I often spend hours or days pondering whether I can really justify buying something. I usually end up buying it sooner or later.

Ultimately though, the sense of whether I really ‘need’ to buy something is pretty subjective, right? Maybe the ‘compulsion’ isn’t determined by the degree of consideration but rather by my motivation for buying it?

Perhaps then, things are more nuanced than I thought?

Justifications for purchases include:

  • “it’s educational” (building blocks)
  • “it’s an investment” (adding to DVD collection)
  • “I read in X that this might help with Z”
  • “it’s cheaper overall to buy in bulk”

After reviewing my recent purchases, I have noticed that most of it is for my feral toddler. He is currently exhibiting the usual ‘terrible twos’ behaviours, plus there’s the arrival of a younger sibling also thrown into the mix. Poor little guy has had a lot to deal with. I’ve witnessed my angelic little soul turn into a defiant little monster overnight and I probably didn’t handle it very well at first.

I honestly think things are improving now as I have a better understanding of what he is going through, but maybe the reason I have spent so much on him lately is partly because I am placating him?

Or maybe I am buying things for him because I am feeling guilty?