Break Out of Your Personal Finance Slump

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This guest post was written by Go Banking Rates, bringing you informative personal finance content and helpful tools, as well as the best interest rates on financial services nationwide. Follow them on Twitter at @gobankingrates.

Personal finance can be very exciting. Unlike most things in life, the results of your efforts are crystal clear. If you’re working hard to battle your debt, you see the little increments of every dollar you pay down in the short-term. Over the long-term, you see the giant leaps you’ve made since you started your plan. The same goes for saving money. The experience of knowing that you have your finances in control can be very rewarding.

Yet, even the best of us sometimes lose track of our budgets and indulge in a little overspending. That’s usually not a big problem, but if you start cutting yourself too much slack too often, you run the risk of negating all the time and hard work you put into getting yourself fiscally fit.

Motivate Yourself Again

If you feel you’re suffering from personal finance burnout, set some time aside to regain your motivation. Whether you’re trying to pay down debt or save money, the key to personal finance is all in your desire and discipline. Once you lose sight of that, it’s very easy to fall back into bad habits that leave your debt spiraling out of control and you living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Matt’s note: Remember… those in the midst of financial slip ups need not be the only readers taking this to heart, others who can benefit greatly are those like myself, who have reached a financial plateau but could take things to the next level.

Ask yourself these questions again. Maybe your motivation has waned because you don’t remember the answers to them:

  • Why are you saving money/paying down debt? Maybe you’re saving for retirement or a house. Or maybe you’re paying down debt to build your credit score or so you won’t have to worry about interest piling up.
  • Why is it important to you? Only you can answer this question and that’s what makes it more special. The reasons are for no one else but yourself.
  • What are your goals to help you get there? Be realistic. If you set the bar too high, you can easily get discouraged when you don’t clear it. Aim low and accomplishing your goals won’t feel very significant.
  • How do you plan to accomplish these goals? This will serve as your guideline to follow as you execute your plan.
  • When do you want to accomplish them? Give yourself a deadline so you won’t put it off too much. Stay disciplined.

Use your answers to these questions to refocus your strategy and regain your motivation. The most important part to personal finance success is to want to succeed. As long as the want is there, the rest should fall in place.

Take Control of Your Money

Just like the way you can see your personal financial successes, you can also see your mistakes. It’s clearly listed for you in your bank statements and credit card transactions. Take these steps to get back into the driver seat:

  • Own your mistakes: It’s never easy to have to look back at your spending binges. It’s easier to just forget them, but you need to face them head on and identify what you did wrong and how you will prevent that from happening again. Analyze your spending habits.
  • Talk to someone: The buddy system works. Find a friend who’s also trying to get their money right and talk about your challenges and ideas. You can try seeking professional help like debtors anonymous meetings or a debt relief specialist if you feel the need. There are many non-profit organizations out there that can help as well.
  • Celebrate your wins: Fighting debt or saving money is about fighting a bunch of small battles that add up to a greater result. Take joy in those little wins and carry that momentum into the next one. It all adds up in the end.

So whether you’re saving cash for a big purchase or trying to pay off debt because of one, remember that money is only a means to getting what you really want. Don’t think about it as little green sheets of paper or just a number you have to monitor. Think of it as one step closer or farther away from your real goal.

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1 Jenna

I think the talking to somebody is key, a friend to be your cheerleader but also hold you accountable or someone know has some knowledge in finance and can give some guided help and additional resources is awesome. Great blog post!

2 Steve in W MA

I think it’s important to set up strong systems around your finances so you don’t need to rely so much on willpower or intention. Make a monthly budget EVERY month and refer to it when you are making spending decisions. Update the budget weekly (I do it after I get home the last day of the week). If you decide to splurge and it’s not in the budget, decide then and there what other spending category the money is going to come from.

It’s very important to record all of your expenditures and income. (I use a small pocket notebook), This cannot be overstated enough. After a few months it becomes the new normal and you won’t be able to blindside yourself because you know what you made, what you spent, and what’s left in the budget.

also, be willing to sit with your feelings of boredom or whatever. So often when we want to splurge it’s because of dissatisfaction with our lives, dissatisfaction that the spending won’t solve. Instead of blowing your financial goals trying to escape the feeling, just sit with it a bit and get some insight into what’s really going on. That could help a lot and you will probably find that if you just get going on something at home or doing some chores or go for a walk that your feelings of frustration will change or go away–for no money spent unnecessarily.

3 Steve in W MA

Oh, and when I say “what category the splurge is going to come from”, I mean money that’s already in your possession and budgeted for some other purpose than your splurge (say, your car repair fund). Never ever ever spend money that’s coming in next week or next month. Only budget and spend the actual money you have in your hands and your bank account. That right there will save you lots of misery.

4 Matt Jabs

Yeah, never spend money you have not budgeted. If you do you run the risk of spending more than you earn, which is no way to build wealth.

5 mario manningham jersey for sale

Interesting read your blog. Your questions and those answers seem to bring up more questions though.

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