Face the Music
While you are very aware of the fact you have a money problem, you probably have blocked the full extent, and the specific details out of your mind. After all, that only makes us feel worse, and it is easier to live in denial when the cold, hard, facts are swept under the rug. So, the first step in turning things around in the money department is facing the music. You have to face where you are now, and the full extent of your issue. It isn’t enough to just say you will start being better.
So, how much debt do you have? Who do you owe money to? Are you behind on any payments? What do you have coming in and going out every month? If you haven’t made a budget, sorry, but you need to now—think of it as a friend.
What Can You Start Doing Immediately?
Taking action will make you feel really good, and up until this point, your inaction likely resulted not only from not wanting to truly face the problem, but the idea that at this point, you couldn’t do ‘enough’ to make a difference so why bother?
You have to change that line of thinking. At this point, you may not be able to attack your debt with gusto. You can’t explode your savings overnight. You have to start somewhere, and taking control will make you feel good. That sense of progress will embolden you.
So, what can you do right now to get things back on track? If you have been ducking creditors, call them and explain your situation—try to set up some sort of payment plan, even if it is a small amount of money. Are there any expenses you could cull right now? Do your really need that smart phone with the expensive monthly plan, or would a pre-paid cell do the job for now—you just need a phone, not a TV, radio and computer all in one. Even if you can only afford to put 100 dollars into your savings account, do it.
Cultivating Positive Feelings
Try to cultivate positive feelings around your quest to improve your financial situation. Write down all the benefits of having your money situation under control. Motivate yourself to save money by setting your sights on a treat—maybe a trip or a special item. Buy some cool software that makes the process of budgeting fun and ‘official.’ Pick out some fun personalized checks, like animal checks, natural landscapes and what have you, and order them online.
Focus on What You’ll Gain, Not What You are ‘Giving Up’
Getting things back on track will likely require some adjustments to your lifestyle. Now, you don’t want to go overboard with the austerity, lest you will never stick with it. There is no magic formula—only you know what is responsible and irresponsible spending, so tune in and let that be your guide.
Don’t focus on what you may be ‘giving up,’ so much as what you are gaining. Money anxieties are some of the worst kind, and can really weigh us down. How great would it be to have that weight lifted? How much better would you feel with your debt taken care of, and a savings account that gives you a cushion in case of an emergency or a lost job? The peace of mind from being financially sound is priceless.