Money Management

Signs That Your Finances Are Out of Control And How to Get Back on Track

By  Karen Banes

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There are a few clear signs that your finances are out of control. And some relatively simple ways to get them back on track. You may be losing control of your personal finances if any of the following are true.

You Avoid Looking at Your Bank Balance

If you don’t know where your money goes it makes sense that regularly checking your bank balance can make you feel anxious. But monitoring your bank account regularly can help you stay aware of your spending, and easily see areas where you can cut back.

It will also help you spot any unusual activity on your account that could be due to simple mistakes or wrongly charged amounts, or maybe even fraudulent activity. Lastly, it will help you avoid nasty surprises such as your payments being rejected, or a sudden charge because you went overdrawn.

Create a routine where you check your bank balance regularly, preferably every day, or at least every few days. This will help you to feel much more in control of things in the long run.

You Have No Idea How Much Outstanding Debt You Have

Most of us have tried the bury-your-head-in-the-sand approach to debt at some point, but it can actually increase anxiety rather than alleviate it. Whether you have a lot of debt or a little, it can always be dealt with, and most people find that creating a plan to pay off debt reduces anxiety significantly.

Even if you’re facing a mountain of debt, you will usually find that knowing the exact size of the mountain, how many steps you need to take to navigate it, and how long that will take, makes you feel more in control.

What’s more, when you know all this, it’s much easier to spot shortcuts that might make the journey quicker or easier, like consolidating your debt or transferring it. Consider talking to a credit counselor if you’re not sure how.

You’ve Automated Everything so You Don’t Have to Think About It

Automating regular payments can actually be a good way to be efficient in the way you manage your money, but there are disadvantages too. Combined with other factors on this list, it can lead to a situation where you feel totally removed from your finances and therefore less in control of them.

Sometimes the process of sitting down and actually paying bills can put you in touch with your financial situation and help you feel empowered to make tweaks and changes that can improve it.

If you have automated everything and you find it helpful, that’s fine. However, you might also find it helpful to sit down with your financial statements once a month and check through all those automated payments so you’re familiar with where your money is going. This will also, of course, help you spot any inaccurate or duplicate payments, or annual payments you’ve forgotten about and maybe don’t need to make any more.

You Don’t Know What You Spend Your Money On

Monitoring your spending isn’t as difficult as it sounds, and it can be oddly satisfying. Once you know exactly where your money is going you can decide on ways to curb impulse spending, avoid environmental triggers, and save money.

It’s also fine if you decide you’re actually happy with the way you spend your money. If you spend a lot on things that are genuinely important to you and that enhance your life, you can actually congratulate yourself on that and stop worrying about it. We are entitled to spend our money on things that make us happier and healthier, so if that’s what you’re doing, you will maybe feel better about it than if you simply don’t know where your money went.

There’s Always a Bit Too Much Month Left at the End of Your Money

Even high-income people claim to live paycheck to paycheck, but that generally means something different for them than it does for the truly cash-strapped. If you regularly have to go without necessities or go into debt towards the end of the month, then it’s time to address that. It might mean budgeting better earlier in the month, but it might also mean asking for a raise, finding an additional income stream, checking whether you’re entitled to extra benefits, or making a drastic lifestyle change.

Many will argue that it’s the system’s fault you can’t make ends meet, and it probably is, but changing the system is usually a lot harder and more time-consuming, than changing something within your control.

About the Author

Karen Banes

I’m a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audiences, and reach their ideal customers. I’ve lived, worked and studied in six countries, across three continents. Stop by my blog TheSavvySolopreneur.net to learn how to run your own (very) small business on your own terms. You can also connect with me at my website KarenBanes.com or follow me on Medium.com

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
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