I have to admit, years ago, there was a time in my life when I exhibited all 10 of these signs of financial struggles. It started right around the time my husband and I got married in 2006. We were spending, spending, spending – and we had no idea how bad of a situation we were getting ourselves into. Honestly, I don’t even know what we were spending on. We had multiple credit cards open and we were racking up the debt faster than we could pay it off!
In the beginning, we were only experiencing 1, or 2, or 3 of these signs, but before we knew it, we were experiencing almost every single one.
Does this sound familiar?
If this sounds like you, I want you to know, you are not alone and even reading this shows me that you are heading in the right direction. In order to resolve and take care of an issue, you need to acknowledge it. My hope is that you’ll see these signs and if you recognize them in yourself, you’ll make the decision to take action before things get too far along.
Here are 10 signs financial struggles might be creeping up on you:
You Don’t Know How Much You Owe
Credit cards, loans galore – it can be so overwhelming. Do you feel like there’s just so much, you decide to push it to the back of your mind and ignore it or pretend it’s not there? If that’s you, the financial struggle is real.
You’re Arguing with Your Partner About Money
When arguments continually center around money, finances, and spending – your financial struggles are a real problem.This arguing can start out small and escalate, especially if one person is a saver and the other is a spender. When both spouses aren’t on the same page about spending, it results in tension and, over time, this tension puts a strain on your relationship.
You Need to Use Credit Cards to Cover Expenses
You know you don’t have money in the bank but you’ve got a handy-dandy credit card in your pocket. So you buy now and pay for it later. This leads to rapidly racking up credit card debt. It’s time to really look at your finances if you always find yourself relying on your credit cards.
You’re Only Able to Make Minimum Payments
If you are only able to make the minimum monthly payments on your loans and bills, it is a sign that your finances might not be where you need them to be. When you have multiple credit cards and loans, those minimum payments add up and the balance never appears to get smaller due to interest.
You Frequently Make Late Payments and Overdraft Your Account
When you miss a payment or overdraft your account, you’ll get hit with loads of extra fees. No one wants additional fees – they really start to add up. And, mounting fees and charges will just add to your debt. If this happens to you frequently, it is definitely an underlying issue you’ll want to look at.
You Don’t Have a Savings or Emergency Fund
Emergencies happen, things break down, so it’s important to have a plan and some funds set aside for those unforeseen events and accidents. Without a savings or emergency fund, you’ll end up taking out more loans and using your credit cards. It can take a while to get to a place where you can set up a savings fund but the sooner you’re able to do this, the better off you’ll be.
You Find Yourself Borrowing from Family and Friends
When things are bad, you might feel like you have no other option than to rely on family and friends. Fortunately, this wasn’t a huge issue for us. If you rely on friends and family to bail you out, it is time to start establishing new financial habits to move towards financial security.
You’ve Requested an Increase on Credit Limits
Credit cards have limits to help us from not racking up more debt than we can payback. If you’ve hit that limit and you’re requesting more credit, that’s not a good sign. This goes hand-in-hand with opening up multiple credit cards. Or, have you found yourself getting creative with moving balances and debts from one place to another? If this is you, it might be time to take a good hard look at these habits.
You Have No Retirement Savings
This isn’t necessarily a sign you’re struggling, but it is something you want to start thinking about. I’m sure you don’t want to be working until you’re 80 or 90 – no one does! But if you are getting closer and closer to retirement age with no financial plan, you’re going to find yourself experiencing financial struggles. The later you start saving for retirement, the more difficult it will be to grow your funds into something you can live off of.
You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
If this is you – you get paid and you’re already relying on your next paycheck. If you’re in the vicious cycle of using your paycheck before it even hits your bank account, that is a really strong sign that you are struggling financially.
Take a step back, lay everything out, take a look at your situation, and be honest with yourself. Acknowledge and be aware of what is happening in your life and your finances. It is going to be okay. Now, let’s take some steps to move your family forward to a better financial space.
I’m holding a FREE live online Family Budget Planning Workshop at the end of August and I’d love to have you join me. Click here for all of the details so you can begin to manage and control your family without the overwhelm.
One of the biggest dreams for a lot of us out there is the idea of becoming 100% debt free in life. Imagine that: no credit card bills or car payment, no worrying if you are going to make it to the next paycheck. Is such a dream even possible?
I am 100% proof that it is!
But before you start thinking that I’m going to sell you on some “get-rich-quick” scheme that is going to take care of all your money woes, let me set your mind at ease. The real question for you should be “How committed are you to getting out of debt and (most importantly) STAYING out of debt?”
Every week, it seemed like we just wanted to throw up our hands and call it quits on the plan because it was so hard to say no to things like social gatherings, vacations, eating out, and shopping sprees. But in the end, we managed to stay the course and rid ourselves of $120,000 of consumer debt.
How did we pull off this miracle paying off debt? Here’s what we did that you can do too:
1. Get clear on every cent that comes in and goes out.
That means create a detailed budget so that you know exactly how much you are spending. Don’t just check your checking account. The real culprits are how much you are racking up on credit cards for nonessential items each month.
2. Once you know just how much is coming in, you need to axe every single expenditure that is not essential.
So, what qualifies as non-essential? Cable TV, subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and yes, even, those regular lattes at Starbucks.
3. Work extra.
This may sound painful, but you can’t just cut money going out. You are going to have to add money coming in. If you are working hourly, pick up as many extra hours as you can. If not, look for a second job or some other way to bring in secondary income. This doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment; just until you get a handle on your finances and get yourself out of debt.
4. The two biggest areas you can cut out, for most people, is eating out and going on vacations.
Instead, eat for much less by cooking at home and then save your money with a nice staycation.
5. Essentially, every single penny that comes in goes to pay off the essential bills.
After you cover your essentials, any money that is left over goes towards paying off the debt.
There should be no exceptions to this.
The bottom line is that you have to learn to live below your means and resist the temptations that crop up all the time to buy things that you don’t absolutely need.
We did this, day-in-and-day-out, for three years. It sucked (big time)! But it has been so worth it because now we get to enjoy our hard-earned money instead of saying goodbye to it every payday and handing it over to the creditors before anything else. This is also a HUGE lesson that we are trying to impart to our children so that they can start off on the right foot with money management.