Women, life, happiness
  • “I’m tired of stressing about money. How do I get my finances in order?”

    January 21st, 2011Keryl PesceLife in general, Money

    "When it comes to money, I'm a complete mess. I never seem to have enough, and my credit blows. How do I get my finances in order and turn my credit around?"

    Simple. Change your behavior. You've got to start doing things differently, because what you've been doing until this point isn't working.

    Let's break this money issue down into three basic pieces, and then we'll talk about what you can do in each area to get yourself to a more lucrative, financially sound and of course, happier place.

    You've got three elements here:

         1 – What you earn.

         2 – What you spend.

         3 - Fixing your credit.

    If you follow my blog, you've heard my tune before. If you want change in your life, it begins with a change in your thinking.

    So what kind of new thinking do you need when it comes to whipping your finances into shape?

    Let's start with #1.

    Take a mental inventory of the people in your life who regularly profess that they want or need more money. Where do they stand financially?  Probably not on the corner of Easy Street and Money Lane. That's because they put their focus in the wrong place. Their thoughts are consumed by "How do I get more money?" rather than what they should be focused on which is "Where and how can I add value to the lives of others?"

    Train yourself to think in these terms without obsessing about when your payback will come. The more you do, the faster abundance will come flowing into your life. That's a promise.

    Take a look at how the most successful people who possess wealth, fulfillment AND happiness think, and I guarantee this will be one of their core philosophies. Quit commiserating with people in the same boat and start studying the minds of people who have what you want.

    Now #2, which is what you choose to do with the money you do earn.

    When I was a kid, my birthday parties consisted of my friends and I sitting around our little kitchen table wearing cheap party hats. Remember? The ones that we inevitably released the rubber band too quickly resulting in a sharp sting and lovely red stripe under our chins? My mother made a home-made cake, fashioned a silly game for us to play and filled up paper bags with M & M's and party favors. Altogether, the party probably cost about eight bucks including the cake.

    While I'm sure some of today's kids do the same, how many go out to Chuck E Cheese, a bowling alley, or even out to nice restaurants. Now, don't get me wrong, if the money is there and it brings you joy to do this, great. But if you need to use a credit card to make this happen, hmmm, how can I say this? Don't be a dip shit.

    Lose the thinking that you must give your kids more than you had when you were little if it means going deeper into debt to do it.

    Whether it's material possessions you want to buy your children, a "need" to have the hottest boots or trendy bag, or the desire to drive a car that is at the limit (or beyond) of your means, take a good look at the long term effects. The high is short-lived, but the debt? Not so much. You'll be dragging the weight of your spending habits long after you cut the tags off.

    Next time you find yourself debating whether or not to spend money on anything other than what is necessary, pause and project yourself forward, after the high of the purchase wears off and the burden of the debt remains. Then decide how important it is for you to spend.

    I do need to tell you though, that I am absolutely an advocate of occasionally treating ourselves. Do treat yourself. Just do it as the exception, not the regular habit.

    Finally, #3, fixing your credit.

    Think of your credit, good or bad, as a snapshot of you. Granted, it is of the financial aspect, but it really does represent your personality and habits. What does yours say about you?

    That score goes too low my friend and you will not be seen as a responsible person. I'm not talking about the occasional misstep or missed payment. It happens. But if you habitually over-extend yourself, pay your bills late (or sometimes not at all), you're painting a not-so-pretty picture of yourself.

    Don't wait until you need a loan for that car you'd love to have, or a mortgage for that perfect house. Rather than kicking yourself in the ass later, get your hump in gear now and start making better choices.

    I spoke to my good friend Jeanne Kelly of The Credit Owl and asked her what advice she would have for her girlfriend about credit. This is one Happy Bitch who knows her stuff. Jeanne, in addition to appearing on the Today Show, has been quoted in the New York Times, CNN Money and blogs for the Huffington Post. Here's what she suggested:

         1 - "Pay all your bills on time. You may think a $10 store credit card payment doesn't damage your report/score, but if it
           is a new late on your report, that one late can drop you 75 points." 

         2 – "Just like I would tell you not to jump in bed with just anyone, same with your credit. Be careful about co-signing a loan for someone. As time goes by, you are still responsible for that debt even if the relationship is over!"

         3 - "It's never to late to start over, if you had bad credit in the past, it doesn't mean you can't rebuild. Open some secure credit cards and get back on track with healthy credit."

    Bottom line, the position you are in today is because of yesterday's choices. Start making better ones today and tomorrow will be brighter.

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1 responses to ““I’m tired of stressing about money. How do I get my finances in order?”” RSS icon

  • Keryl:

    Great points are made here. Good credit and responsible finances are one step away. You have to decide to make things work right. This doesn’t mean it will happoen over night. Bad credit doesn’t happen over night either.

    There are many great resources out there either through the credit bureaus or from not-for-profit credit counselors.

    First you have to decide to change the behaviors that got you to where you are and then set up a system of evaluating spending, setting a budget and then sticking to it.

    It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

    Working out doesn’t make you skinny tomorrow but it starts making you healthy today.

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