Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Facing Your Finances

Anyone who’s ever had financial trouble can tell you how embarrassing it is. No one ever wants the neighbors to know that their phone’s been ringing off the hook with bill collectors or that they never go out when invited because they just can’t afford it. And I think most people hit those low financial patches in their life, but right now it seems like there are a lot of people struggling that weren’t quite acclimated to going without. It’s hard to streamline your bills to a manageable degree when your income has been cut in half – and that’s what many people are going through. And because financial problems are so socially embarrassing, many people will hide their heads in the sand rather than face it – which makes the problem ten times worse. You can’t keep spending as usual without the income stream to back it up.

A lot of people are turning to services, like to help them relearn how to manage their money and live within their current budget. They get pulled under with credit card debt because they overuse the cards trying to keep up with bills they can no longer afford. Or they simply need a sounding board to try to figure out how they got off track and relearn to live within their new means. Another thing they might do is look into debt consolidation in order to make their payments lower and more manageable per month.

Sometimes you don’t even need to use a company, just some standard research and a good common sense look at where you are, what you earn, and what you need in order to not only float but save a little to get a cushion… that’s the biggest problem I see. People will spend exactly what they make. But without that bit of savings then one extra bill can send you into a spiral. And who hasn’t run up against an unexpected bill?

In the last few years, I’ve adopted a few habits that have saved me a bit… still not completely there, but I’m working on it… how about you? What things have you started going without or doing in order to help your bottom line?

Special thanks to A New Horizon for sponsoring this post.

1 comment:

Sarah Laurenson said...

My wife is the short term saver and I'm the long term saver. Funny how our financial habits mesh so nicely. Now that she's not working, we are having to take long looks at how we spend.

I once had to send letters to all my creditors and ask for some breathing room. One demanded payment now and a couple others gave me a month off. It balanced out nicely, but sure was hard to ask.