Personal finance isn’t always straightforward. Not only have financial relationships grown more complex in recent years, but consumer goods have also become more expensive – without wage increases to offset the rise. It’s easy to become discouraged in the present climate, but there are steps you can take to overcome financial challenges – even when it feels like your finances are working against you.
Despite financial hiccups and the hopelessness that sometimes accompanies them, giving up on your finances is the wrong approach. Losing resolve can only make matters worse, so when you’re discouraged or experience financial distress, it’s more important than ever to change your mindset and recommit to prudent practices.
Each case is unique, so you’ll ultimately have to address the specific sources of your personal financial difficulties, such as unchecked spending, insufficient earnings, or problem debt. In the meantime, you can get a head start, turning around your finances, by changing the way you think about money and reversing a negative mindset.
Give Yourself a Break
In many cases, financial distress is a direct result of poor money management decisions. Not always, but often, unsustainable spending habits or expensive lifestyle choices are the source of the financial pressure you’re feeling. When bad choices come back around to haunt your finances, it’s natural to blame yourself, harshly judging your performance as a personal money manager.
Though accountability is an important part of effective financial management, being too hard on yourself is counterproductive. Rather than wallow in guilt and shame for making bad financial choices, focus instead on bouncing back from poor outcomes and putting the past behind you. Each error presents learning opportunities you can use to avoid future problems, so accept small failures and move on to bigger, better things.
Learn About Finance
Financial understanding lags in the UK; studies consistently highlight financial knowledge gaps among consumers. If you’re not as savvy as you should be with money, this fundamental lack of understanding may be to blame for your finances underperforming. It may not happen overnight, but boosting your knowledge about economics and other money matters can help you guide your finances in a better direction.
You don’t have to go back to school, in order to make your budget right. Online resources are available, offering insight about important aspects of personal finance, such as saving, investing, buying a house, managing a household budget, and reducing personal spending.
In addition to online resources, several worthy mobile apps provide financial assistance. These finance apps help you keep track of your money and work out budgets, but they also offer tips and information to round out your financial understanding. Your friends and family members can also be a good source of financial information, sharing their experiences managing money. If your mates are skint, they may not be the best source for information, but it never hurts to bring in a different perspective, alongside your personal research.
If money charities and other financial resources haven’t answered your most pressing financial questions, professional help can provide the specific insight you need to make prudent financial choices.
Use Small Wins to Build Confidence
When your finances are a mess, and you’ve resolved to take control; it may take some time to sort things out. In the meantime, setting short-term financial goals can help you stay focused and build confidence. For instance, when problem debt drags down your finances, resolve to reduce it in bits, until you’re able to clear a single balance, and then move on to the next chunk, with a small victory under your belt.
Savings goals can be managed in the same way, by recognising milestones along the way to your ultimate goal. And when you’re working on a budget, you can track your headway relative to the spending limits you’ve set.
With steady progress toward your money goals, each small step makes the endgame less intimidating and provides positive momentum for your finances. It’s common to fall into negative financial patterns, but some are driven by your own thinking. Changing your mindset and adding to your financial knowledge base are two sure ways to build cash confidence and move your finances in the right direction.