Are you in a love-hate relationship with your finances? See how you can get back on track and be happy with your finances again.
Can we all agree that for most households, the last year and a half was a mixed bag of emotions? A whirlwind of extreme highs for some and extreme lows for others. One emotion expressed by many was regret.
Regret for missed savings opportunities, not hugging friends and family enough, and most often not being financially prepared for an economic crisis. If this describes your emotional response, you’re not alone. The good news is that by recognizing those regrets, you’re ready to move towards recovery.
The next step is to do what’s necessary to let go of what should’ve been done. Nothing you could’ve done would’ve prevented the global pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, so rest assured that whatever happened to you isn’t your fault. While it’s technically possible to take steps forward while looking back, it’ll likely result in falling on your face. Therefore, it’s best to make peace with the financial past to look forward instead of backward.
Now that you’re no longer looking backward, you must assess the present. Whether you made late payments, gained a collection or two, or relied too heavily on credit cards, none of these things define you. Today can be your starting point, the time of your life you’ll look back on with wisdom gained from experience.
Here are some steps to take to begin your journey to/back to financial tranquility.
Top Steps To Take
List Your Income
These income streams may be full-time or part-time employment, unemployment, gig work, sales from a home business, child support, or alimony.
Pro tip: If you need to increase income, first assess your knowledge, skills, and talents, then look into flexible gig work like providing rideshare or delivery services before searching job boards. You may be surprised by the earning potential of nontraditional opportunities.
List Your Expenses
These expenses will include your monthly living expenses, utilities, hygiene items, gifts, auto expenses, childcare expenses, and seasonal costs.
Pro tip: Analyze your last three months of bank and credit card statements to help make a list.
List Your Debt
Getting back on track does not mean all debt is paid off. Back on track means getting back to a place of financial security, not total elimination of debt.
Pro tip: If there are many items on this list, tackling them one at a time, smallest to largest, is usually the easiest.
Prioritize Your Debt
Moving forward will be more overwhelming and challenging if you try to reach every goal at once.
Pro tip: Tackling items on your debt list one at a time from smallest to largest will help keep you on track, and the small accomplishments along the way will help with motivation.
Motivation directly impacts momentum. If you want to get back on track quickly, celebrating each accomplishment is necessary for long-term success.
Pro tip: Finding a low or no-cost celebration will help keep you on the road to recovery. Maybe a picnic at your favorite park? After all, this is a family effort.
The pandemic can be an eye opener for how we prepare for our financial future. The causes of this economic crisis were unforeseen by most, and many of us were unprepared to handle it. Now, we know better, and can begin to plan for the future.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”