It’s easy to feel like your finances have run amok during the holidays but if the overspending and minimum bill paying spreads to other parts of the year, it’s time to rein it in. What you and many other people have likely realized is how quickly things can get out of hand. One minute you feel like the most responsible person on the planet having paid off your credit cards and the next thing you know, the balances are back into the thousands. Take a deep breath and evaluate your situation. Read on for more on what to do when it feels like your finances are getting out of control.
Create a Plan
Paper planners can be better than using your phone, as there is nothing better than that feeling of physically crossing an item off that extensive to-do list. The same thing goes for making a financial plan. Simply sitting down, looking at everything you owe, and crafting a plan to pay it all back will make you feel better in minutes. Create a spreadsheet to enter what you spend in certain categories versus what you owe. You might not be able to knock out the debt in a couple of months, but seeing how you’re going to do it and in what amount of time should alleviate a lot of stress.
Make Simple Changes
You’ve surely seen the math on what that daily cup of Starbuck’s coffee does to you in the long run, right? By the end of the year, you’ve paid at least $800 to a company that’s certainly not hurting for profits. Things like making your coffee at home might not seem like much but they will surely help you in the long haul. Eat in more often. Use public transportation. Opt for a cheaper gym membership like Chuze to take on your fitness resolution. What seem like minor changes will have a huge impact on getting your finances under control.
Get a Second Job
No one’s talking about working 80 hours per week, but if you have skills that you can use in the down hours from your full-time job, now might be the time to put them to use. Whether it’s monetizing a blog to take advantage of your writing skills or driving people using Lyft at night and on the weekends, there are ways to pick up extra work and extra money without becoming completely overwhelmed. If you work somewhere with shifts, think about picking up some extras until you’ve begun to feel like your finances are back in control. This is particularly true if your job offers overtime pay.
Get Some Help
If you think you can handle derailed finances on your own, more power to you. But if they’re out of control and you don’t have the confidence in your own budgeting skills to handle it, you might want to reach out and get the help of a financial advisor. You don’t have to use this person forever, but it could be good to get extra help until your debt and spending are back under your control. This is especially true if your debt is owed to the government. The IRS doesn’t mess around, and with tax season looming around the corner, now’s the time to get help if you’re already in the hole. Opt for a certified service that can help you tackle IRS debt, like tax resolution by Community Tax. You might invest a bit upfront, but the peace of mind – and the prevention of penalties – will save you more in the long run.
Get a Loan
A loan from the bank could simply get you into a bigger financial bind. If you have friends or family that you know will give you a loan for a reasonable amount of money, though, this could be the way to go. Many people think this is taboo but if all parties involved are confident that the loan will be paid back, there is nothing wrong with this. You could have papers drawn up and pay the money back with interest or could do it more informally, but it’s best to pay the individual something each month as a show of good faith. This would be a particularly good option if you have credit card debt as you don’t want to simply pay the minimum balance each month while racking up financial penalties. A friend or family member could help stop the bleeding while you get things under control.
Finances feeling like they’re spinning out of control? Follow these tips and you should be back in the driver’s seat soon enough.