One problem with financial stress is that it often makes financial problems even worse. That is because making sound financial decisions is almost impossible when you are feeling constantly stressed and anxious. In fact, stress can lead you to make very bad decisions to try to fix your financial problems quickly. In the worst of cases, your financial stress could even lead to serious health problems. If you are suffering from cash anxiety then you need a plan to get back on track now. Overcoming financial problems isn’t easy, but it can be done. Below we will look at the things you need to do today to get your financial life back on track sooner.
Enough with the excuses
The biggest barrier to overcoming your financial problems is most likely yourself. After all, nobody is going to solve your financial problems for you. If you know you are struggling then you are well past the point where delaying is even an option. The hardest thing for many people to do is to stop procrastinating and finally take the first step towards getting on their financial feet. So how do you break out of that procrastination trap? Well, try not to get overwhelmed by the challenge ahead. Instead, start with a small task, such as just opening a spreadsheet on your computer and labeling it “Budget.” Just a little step like that is often enough to get things rolling and it will make what comes next much easier. To help you get by, you may need to consider a personal loan with bad credit, but if so remember to keep the long-term goal in mind, which is getting out of debt entirely.
Identify your expenses
The reason you probably don’t have much money is because you don’t know where your money is going. Some expenses, such as your mortgage and car loan, probably can’t be avoided, so you can’t cut those out of your life. What you can do, however, is cut out the minor daily expenses that you probably don’t keep track of. Start keeping receipts of everything and put it into a budget. You’d be amazed by how much that morning latte is costing you over the course of a year, for example. Or maybe you are buying a cable subscription despite the fact that you watch all of your shows on Netflix. Alternatively, you may be purchasing the expensive brand of baked beans when the cheaper brand would do just fine. Knowing where your money is going every day is the first step to keeping it in your pocket.
Create a financial plan
Now that you know where your money is disappearing to, you can take concrete steps to staunching the flow and getting back on sound financial ground. That means you need to create a budget for the next few months. There are plenty of cheap budget guides and software programs out there so make use of them. And while it’s okay to be ambitious, you should make sure your goals are realistic. Cut what you can reasonably expect to be able to live without, but don’t get carried away. Trying to live like a monk off of bread and water is probably going to get tiring pretty soon. Instead, focus on what you need and make room for what you would like to have. A few luxuries in life are okay, so long as they don’t consume your budget entirely.
Sticking to it
Creating a plan is one thing, sticking to it is another. Once you have identified where your money is going and you have a budget that will help you get on top of your situation then you need to take concrete steps towards making that budget a reality. Again, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by how big of a task you have ahead of yourself. Small steps make all the difference. If you have found out through budgeting that you are spending hundreds of dollars a month on coffee, for example, then start by scheduling time in the morning to make your own coffee and bringing it into work with you. Building habits like this are easy to do and they are the essential ingredient to getting you out of debt faster. And remember that while the first week or two will be the most difficult, soon enough these habits will become almost second nature to you.
With so many Americans struggling with cash anxiety, you needn’t feel like you are on your own when battling your own financial problems. Just keep in mind that tackling your money issues is something that is doable so long as you change some small but important aspects of your daily life.
Tom Hanson shares his insights and tips into managing money through his articles. He is a personal finance consultant and a family man, knowing first hand just how difficult it is to make ends meet in this day and age!