When it comes to personal finance we can all agree that it’s an extremely personal issue. Some people shy away from talking about their finances outright. Some reserve the intimacy of their financial situation to their other half. Whilst others completely bury their head in the sand and tend to avoid contemplating it entirely. The reality is that you can take control of your finances! It takes some work, and if you’re willing to put the work in you can easily change your situation. I’ve compiled these 5 ways to take control of your finances now! All it takes is a little bit of hard work and you can be financially free.
1) Be Honest! There’s a Problem!
The first step in gaining financial freedom is to be honest. Honesty is the key to many things in life, really. Have you noticed that a lot of the time financial ruin or less drastically, financial hardships, can go hand in hand with dishonesty and deceit? I have and I think there’s definitely a reason for that.
It may be difficult to finally have the courage to come clean. Some people experience anxiety by even thinking about the repercussions that may come from it. But as they say, acceptance is the first step to change. Once you accept that you need to take control of your finances you can move forward with making the right decisions for yourself and your bank account.
2) Be honest with yourself.
Personal honesty when it comes to your finances is paramount! Rarely is financial difficulty a cut and dry case of incomings v outgoings. In my experience, both with myself in the past, and with others around me I have seen that the culprit for financial difficulties on many occasions is actually our emotions.
Financial irresponsibility can happen for many reasons but a lot of the time it is almost exclusively thanks to (or no thanks to) the link between our emotions and our finances. If your positive emotional reactions are intertwined with material possessions or you hoard for fear of your future circumstances you can spiral into a seemingly never ending cycle of poor financial decisions.
3) Be honest about your spending.
On that note, it’s extremely important to be honest with yourself about your spending habits. We all know that buying your lunch instead of taking food from home can be more expensive. What I’m talking about here is extremes.
Do you have a fridge full of food yet eat out every day?
Have you found yourself hiding receipts or shopping bags from your other half?
Seemingly small expenses add up over time and can lead you down a slippery slope. But these extreme behaviours can sometimes be the wake-up call you need!
4) Be honest with your spouse …
… or whomever you share financial responsibilities with. One night whilst reading blog posts, I came across a post on blogger community Tots 100 about a blogger who took out a payday loan without telling her husband. The poor woman was disgusted with herself for having lied to her partner, to say the least. The feelings that you get for lying about your finances can take a huge toll on your emotional health. This can be particularly true if your lie has bigger financial repercussions that you may have originally imagined.
Coming clean about your spending habits can be shameful. Instead of focusing on the short term repercussions or negative emotions (or even the row that will most certainly ensue) take responsibility and work on things together. If one of you is disciplined whilst the other is careless with finances you can still find some common ground.
If you have gotten yourself into a hole but your other half is financially responsible perhaps short term solutions may help you grab the reigns. A short term loan can help you avoid overdraft fees, for example. You can check out broker sites like iLoans to find the best short term loan. If your other half can help keep you in line you can pay off the loan as soon as your next payday comes around. This can only work if you are disciplined, but with someone around to hold you accountable it can be easily done.
5) Contact Your Creditors
Before blogging became my full time job I used to work in customer service and sales. The skills that I picked up working in that industry for many years are still helping me now. Did you know that a lot of the times your creditors send you correspondence and call you with one reason in mind – to get your attention!
Sure, let’s not be naive here, they want their money. But they also really want to be in contact with you. In that case, tell them about your hardships. If, for example, you call your credit card company and tell them you won’t be making a payment for XYZ reason, they may be more merciful when it comes to fees.
Another thing you can do for a lot of your utility companies, car loan companies, credit card providers, and the like is to request a change in payment due dates. I’ve done that both in the US and in the UK and my requests have been heeded. It’s in their best interest to ensure that you don’t default but it’s also in your best interest to avoid any fees.
So, there you have it! It may sound like the most obvious and simplistic of principles but being honest about money and finances is the only way to face the music and make the positive changes needed for your life and to take control of your finances.