Okay, so I saw just about every single one of these signs before I got sick of my irresponsible money ways and got serious about getting out of debt. So if you’re seeing these signs too, then there is a high likelihood that you probably haven’t been paying attention very close attention to your finances, and you may not be aware that financial troubles are laying ahead.
If any of these signs sound familiar, then I would like to urge you to take a look at your money situation before things get worse. Just reading the Work and Money section here on Babble is a great place to start! So you can feel good about that.
1. You Have No Idea How Much Is (or is not) in your Bank Account
Before I decided to get my financial life on track I never knew how much money was in my account. I would do the swipe-and-pray money-management method where I would basically just hope that I wasn’t going to overdraft my account.
Learn from my mistakes: if you are about to make a purchase and have no idea if the transaction will even go through, then it’s time to step back and really look at your financial management routine AKA Get-Yo-Self-Outta-Denial.
2. You’ve Been Hit with Overdraft Fees
I used to get overdraft fees all the time and anyone who’s gotten them knows that overdraft fees these days are no joke. If you’ve been incurring overdraft fees that are costing you more than the checks/charges the bank covered, then some serious re-budgeting is needed in your life. Making a mistake or two in your checkbook is something everybody does from time to time so don’t feel too bad if it rarely happens. (If you don’t overdraw your account all the time then call up the bank and ask that the fee be removed.) The trouble is if it’s happening all the time because those fees really add up!
3. You’ve Incurred Late Fees on Monthly Bills
Take a look at the last few months of statements you’ve received from creditors and other companies. If there are any late fees being incurred on your bills that you weren’t aware of then you probably need to commit to better financial planning. There may be occasions where a bill payment is late by a few days, but there is no reason to keep shelling out your money on fees simply because you aren’t properly managing your time and money. A slew of late fees also, unfortunately means your credit rating has gone downhill.
4. You Are Using Your Credit Card for Everything
If you find you pull out your credit card just to get from one paycheck to the next, let’s be honest, you are already in over your head. Not only do you not have enough money to cover your basic living expenses, you are also facing a vicious cycle of credit card debt you likely can’t afford. I’m not judging! I was there too.
5. You Spend More Time Moving Money Around than Budgeting
This was a big problem for me! If your idea of personal financial management involves transferring funds from bank accounts or credit cards just to cover your own butt rather than formulating a reasonable household budget, you are in jeopardy of losing control. If there isn’t enough money to go around, it’s time to either cut your expenses or supplement your income (or both!).
6. You’ve Become Defensive About Money Matters
If you aren’t able to speak with your spouse (or anyone else) about money issues without a fight breaking out or without going on the defensive, it’s time to take a deep breath and have a serious financial talk. Even if only one person in the house primarily handles all things money, both partners need to be knowledgeable and involved in the household finances including budgeting and planning. If you can’t talk to your partner without it getting heated be open to the idea of getting an objective third-party involved so they can mediate.
7. You’ve Begun Receiving Phone Calls from Collectors
Okay, so if this is happening then your finances have already exploded on you. Some outstanding debts can be more serious than others, but if you are avoiding any calls for collections, you need to take action rather than hide. In many cases, creditors are willing and able to help you out during a difficult financial time but will only do so if you communicate. Failure to face the mess you got yourself into could equal major consequences like loss of your property or even lawsuits. It can be difficult to do but be honest with yourself and face your responsibilities and sort it out. You’ll be happy you did.
Image source: Coley Christine Catalano