Everyone has a different experience growing up in how they learned or didn’t learn about money. Moving into adulthood without a solid understanding of how to set up a budget, manage your spending, and set financial goals makes it easy for your finances to spiral out of control.
How to Recognize the Problem
There a few ways to recognize that your financial picture isn’t as strong as you may like. There is nothing wrong with putting expenses on your credit card, but it’s important to pay the card off in full each month. If you find yourself unable to do so, you need to take a hard look at your spending. Living off of a credit card float, where you spend more than you make, can cause you to accumulate debt that will be hard to dig yourself out of. Better to cut back on spending now than face the prospect of five-digit credit card debt in the future.
Another sign you are headed for trouble is overdrafting your bank account. Banks offering overdraft protection may lead you to believe overdrafting is common. It may happen more than it should, but it is an indicator that your spending is outpacing your earnings. Overdraft fees are an extra expense that puts you further behind. If you frequently send in bills late, your finances may be sliding out of control. Even if you aren’t in danger of having your phone or electricity shut off, if you routinely wait until the next payday rather than paying bills by their due date, you need to look at your spending.
Get Your Finances Under Control
Once you realize your spending is out of hand, you need to take control as quickly as possible. Avoiding the issue will only make it worse. It is common to put off dealing with financial matters. There are emotions such as shame and embarrassment tied up in money matters, but refusing to face the issue only makes it worse. If you have credit card or other debt weighing you down, look into taking out a personal loan through a private lender. You can consolidate your debt into one loan at a lower interest rate. This allows you to save money on interest and make progress on paying down debt. Consider taking a side job if you have a serious budget shortfall. Even working two shifts a week at a retail establishment or grocery store can provide funds that allow you to pay off debt and finally put some money in savings.
Maintain Your Position
Once you are making progress towards a more stable financial picture, concentrate on maintaining. Keep an eye on your spending, check your bank balance daily to ensure you don’t overdraft, and challenge yourself to no-spend days. As you see your debt shrink and your savings grow, you will realize how much stress having an out of control financial situation was. It is important to treat yourself once in a while, or you will have trouble staying on track. Plan your splurges, and make sure you can pay cash for your treat. You are sure to find that enjoying the indulgence guilt-free makes it more of a reward.