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Have you ever had the best intentions when it comes to money, but just totally blow it by overspending? And then you get into that funk where you feel like you already messed up, so why bother trying to fix it? (This can happen with food too, but that’s a whole other beast.) In the past, there have been months where we messed up so bad with money that it actually made me want to go and spend even more money. In my mind, I thought “oh well, might as well spend more!” My husband told me to put the new shoes down and back slowly away from the Target register. It can be hard to get back on track financially when you’ve gotten yourself into a hole. Sometimes we spend too much, save too little, and lose the motivation to pay off debt. Thankfully, there are many ways to get you back on track with money. It can be done and you can move forward financially. Check out these 6 ways to get back on track with your money.
1. Identify the Problem
You got off track for a reason. Something happened, or maybe something didn’t happen. Regardless, you have to be honest with yourself. Were you trying to keep up with all of your friends and everything that they own? Were you unprepared for the month and didn’t write out a budget? Maybe you were just feeling a little selfish and you wanted to buy something nice for yourself. No matter what the problem was, you have to identify it and face it. Make sure this problem doesn’t happen in the future. In fact, I encourage you to take active steps to prevent this from coming up again. Once you know the problem, you can move forward financially.
2. Make a Budget
If you have fallen off the financial wagon, then you need a budget to help get you back in shape. Never made a budget? Learn how to make one HERE. If you have made one, then you know that it is essential to financial success. It’s time to sit down and be very intentional about where you are sending your money. I know that you might hate the idea of making a budget. If that’s you, then try to make it fun. Turn it into a budget party by playing some music, eating your favorite snacks, and have a glass of wine (or two). Make sure you work on a budget with your partner. If you need to get your partner on board with making a budget, read helpful hints HERE. If you have older children, include them in the budget making process. This is a great opportunity for you to grow as a family as well as teach children the importance of financial responsibility.
3. Read for Motivation
Did you fall off track with your money because you just lost motivation? Maybe you’re working on becoming debt free and that has been taking you what feels like forever. You need someone to talk some serious sense into you. If that’s you, then I recommend reading books to help kick you back into gear. Some of my favorites can be found below.
If you’re not a fan of reading, then you might enjoy podcasts. You can listen to them in the car or while you are getting ready for the day. Some of my absolute favorites are Farnoosh Torabi’s So Money Podcast, The Dave Ramsey Show, and Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips. Happy listening!
4. Sell Something or Have a Spending Freeze
If you are behind on payments or need money quick, then it’s time to look around your home and figure out what you can live without. You will be surprised how much money you can make by selling random stuff that you didn’t think was valuable. If you are in the process of trying to pay off debt and you have reached a plateau, sell something! It will get you motivated to keep going once you see more money go to your loans. Likewise, consider setting a spending freeze. You can freeze yourself from spending any money for a set amount of time. Maybe it’s just the weekend, the entire week, or an entire month! If you have committed yourself to not spending any money, then you can easily see how much you can save. Put that extra money that you didn’t spend to an overdue bill, a loan payment, or straight to savings.
5. Determine your “Why”
If you are in the position where you need to get back on track with money then you might need to revisit your short term and long term goals. What is your “why?” Why are you trying to be in control of your finances? Is it because you want to be debt free? Maybe you want to have money saved for your children or retirement. Or are you just trying to put one foot in front of the other and stay on top of your bills? Regardless of your “why ” we should all set goals. Goals give you focus and clarity. I don’t know about you, but I am much more likely to blow my budget and screw up financially if I don’t know what I’m working towards. Our family currently has the goal to save 3 months living expenses in our savings account. Knowing my exact goal and the amount we want to meet helps me stay on track. I know that if I spend extra money, that I am taking directly away from that goal. What is your goal? Write it out and display it somewhere you can see it often. Remind yourself daily what you “why” is.
6. Get Organized
Dealing with money and finances is much easier when you are organized and have all your documents in one place. You know exactly where to go to pay your bills, check account balances, and write your budget. What’s better is that your partner also knows where to find these things! You wouldn’t try to tackle a 10-hour road trip without a map. Likewise, don’t try to tackle your finances without a map and a plan (and coffee. Drink lots of coffee). I personally have a binder that contains our budget, login information, bills spreadsheet, bank statements, financial goals, and much more. Having everything in one place makes paying bills and balancing accounts less painful. Get my 6 Day Budget Basics Email Course (it’s completely FREE). To help set up your budget binder, check out my Budget Binder Bundle. Simply print and you’re ready to go!
Ultimately, understand that this will not be your last time falling off the financial wagon. It happens to even the best budgeters. What matters is how you react and if you put forth the effort to get back on track with money. So pick yourself up, put the shoes in Target back on the rack, and head home to get yourself on track. You’ve got this (insert high five here)!
What will be your first step to getting back on track with your money?