Nothing can cause us stress quite like our financial situation. It is really easy to get off track with our money. Bad habits take hold; it is really easy to go into denial. We are really good at rationalizing our irresponsible spending; we keep telling ourselves that we will address these issues sometime soon, but it never comes. Perhaps we picked up some bad habits from our parents. If you are dropping the ball in this area of your life, and you know some changes are necessary, that is a great starting point. That intention to change is good, and you need to act on it sooner than later or it will begin to crumble away. Here are just a few tips to right your course.
Where are Your Weak Spots?
When it comes to our finances, we all tend to have our weak spots, usually several. Identifying them is an important step in improving our handling of money because it allows us to develop more specific strategies that will directly address our unique challenges.
So, what are your money weak spots? Are you a little too liberal with the credit card? Do you tend to charge things for which you should really be paying cash, and have a continuously ballooning balance because you never pay off the card in full like you constantly tell yourself you will? Do you tend to go a bit overboard on the weekend recreation? Is shopping your go-to strategy to boost a foul mood? Are you always siphoning your savings account for unnecessary purchases?
Make It Fun
You probably don’t associate managing your money with fun, but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in torture. Get some cool budgeting software that helps you track your spending. Set your sights on a vacation, activity or something you have been wanting to buy, and decide now you will start saving for it. When you have been good with your money, allow yourself a little treat like a nice dinner out or a massage. Now that you will be spending more responsibly, these indulgences shouldn’t break the bank, and you will have certainly earned them. Get some new checks with a cool theme that you like, like patriotic checks, cute kittens or whatever else strikes your fancy—you can easily order them online from stores that have tons of different themes.
If you have several issues you need to tackle, and particularly if your money troubles are a bit more serious, prioritizing is important. It is easy to look at our current predicament and feel completely overwhelmed with the mess we may have made up until this point. And when we feel that way, any resolve to improve things can easily be squashed, leading us to take no action at all. So, to optimize progress, it is necessary to prioritize. Don’t worry about fixing everything at once. Pick one issue and just focus on that for now. Perhaps you want to focus on getting your credit cards under control. If your absence of an emergency fund is really pulling at you, that might be a good place to start. Think about what would feel the best to start addressing now and go from there.