Everyone hits a rough patch with their finances occasionally. it’s just an inescapable fact of life. You could lose your job because of an unanticipated layoff. You could have a medical emergency that created big bills. Or maybe your automobile’s engine blew up. These all are bad times that can leave you feeling helpless and as if you were all alone. But take heart. There are things you can do that will help you get through that rough patch and keep you from feeling as if you had been stranded on a desert island with no way to escape.
Write down every cent you spend
You can’t know where your money’s going until you create a track record of your spending. This means writing down every cent you spend right down to the $1 candy bar you got from a vending machine. When you do this you may be amazed at how much money you’re wasting. But once you see this you should be able to find ways cut down on your spending, which will free up money you could use to get through that bad patch of your finances or to pay down your debts.
Work those connections
If you were laid off it’s tempting to just stay in your house cowering in embarrassment. After all, getting laid off or fired is an embarrassing event. But instead of this you should work your connections by emailing every contact you have to let them know you’re available. This might actually result in some job interviews and in just a few weeks. Believe it or not, people do want to be helpful but they can’t help unless they know you need it.
De-clutter your brain and create some positive affirmations
You should try to do a complete brain dump every couple of weeks. Try to get all that mental clutter out of your mind and on paper so that you can see it. This should help you organize your thoughts and feel as if you’re more in control. One blogger reported that he had changed the password to his online accounts to a positive affirmation such as BobisGreat137. He said that having to type that out several times a day did help improve his self-confidence. He also reported that he changes his password every couple of months to keep them safe and current.
If you don’t understand how positive affirmations work or how to use them, here’s a short video that explains both.
Use exercise to tame your anxieties
Every day that goes by that you haven’t been able to resolve your finances will be a day when you’ll probably be feeling more anxious. The best way to conquer this is to exercise every day. It’s just a great sedative. And it has no side effects outside of some achy muscles. You should be able to exercise free or for just pennies at a community recreation center. When you exercise you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your productivity should increase daily.
Set small goals as steppingstones to bigger ones
Let’s suppose that you have $10,000 in credit card debt. A great goal would be to eliminate it. But the question becomes how are you going to get there? Instead of creating just that one goal you might create four goals – to pay off $2500 every quarter until you’re debt free. You should find these mini goals easier to achieve but they will still be worth celebrating. And when you achieve one you’ll know you’re well on your way to achieving that big goal.
Find ways to stay motivated
If your biggest problem is paying off debt, then here is one good way to stay motivated. Think of the one thing that you find most hateful about having debt or that would make you most excited when you get it paid off. As an example of this, suppose you have a crappy car that you loathe or that you can’t take a nice vacation until you’ve paid off that debt. Instead of focusing on the debt itself try concentrating on what that new car would look like or how great it would be to take a dream vacation to Spain. These can be powerful motivators that will help you stay on track.
This tip isn’t really as ugly as it might sound. What it really means is leaning on people and calling in favors. If you want to get back on your feet financially you need a team to help you. Network with people who can provide information and resources or support you emotionally. You may actually be amazed at who will try to help you and who won’t.
Another thing you need to get through a rough patch of your finances is someone you can talk to about it candidly. This person must be someone that you trust to the degree that you will allow her or him to play part accountability partner and part psychiatrist. For example, you might share your biggest goal with that person and then arrange a “check-in” every week where the two of you discuss what you’ve been able to do to accomplish that goal, which is the accountability part. Psychologically it’s just much easier to drive yourself to accomplish a goal when you know you’ll be required to report your progress to your partner.
Don’t forget to celebrate
It’s important to celebrate even small accomplishments with your finances. Going back to that $10,000 debt suppose you were able to pay off $1000 of it this month. That’s something worth celebrating. You could treat yourself to a glass of wine at a favorite restaurant or maybe a couple of beers with your friends. But don’t celebrate big as its cost could absolutely negate whatever it was that you had accomplished.
We hope that these tips have been helpful regardless of your financial problem. We know that it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed and anxious. But if you follow just one of these tips today you’ll be taking a step towards empowerment and will eventually get through that rough patch.