Starting the new year with money problems may signal a need to review financial habits. Follow these five quick tips to help tame money woes and get back on track.
1 – Face the Music
Most people who struggle with their money habits have done so all of their lives. Money habits are formed in early childhood and are cues picked up from our parents. Living on credit or paycheck-to-paycheck may be so psychologically comforting it can be a hard habit to break.
People who grew up poor who find themselves with extra money are tempted to spend the money immediately. That attitude can create a boom and bust cycle that is hard to break. Think carefully about your childhood and how you lived because it can explain a lot about your money habits today.
2 – Set Goals
Setting goals can help avoid the mindset of indulgence or deprivation. Be careful that financial goals aren’t too restrictive to avoid falling into a cycle again. An unrealistic goal plan can exacerbate bad money habits rather than relieve them.
Anyone who has ever said to themselves, “A budget never works for me!” has probably set up unrealistic goals. Be realistic with your goals by tracking your income and expenses.
3 – Track Your Spending
Tracking spending for a month provides detailed data that helps establish realistic financial goals. Get a receipt for every purchase or track them quickly in a budgeting app. Expenses should be broken down into categories like food, housing, medical, and entertainment.
Tracking everything spent in a month is a real eye-opener for where extra spending can be cut. Budgeting is the next step to stopping overspending during the month.
4 – Budget Yourself
Many people think of budgets the same way they think of diets – awful things only to be engaged in when necessary. This mindset is what contributes to overspending. A budget is a neutral representation of a person’s financial life. Planning where the money goes every month helps curb overspending and the boom and bust paycheck cycle.
5 – Reward Good Money Habits
Many people fail to stick to their budget because they don’t reward good spending habits. It’s okay to set up a goal for buying a new smartphone or video game. Don’t completely budget the fun out of life; otherwise, the newly created budget is meaningless.