6 Ways You Can Escape Your Financial Rut
Do you ever feel like, no matter what you do, you can’t get control of your finances? It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re constantly struggling to improve your spending habits, to realize that you’re just not making progress towards your goals. However, most of us get into a financial rut at some point during our lives.
Maybe you’re always relying on your credit cards because you run out of cash too early in the month. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming about a savings target for years, but you’ve never moved any closer to it. If those things sound familiar, the following 6 strategies could help.
1. Get a New Perspective
Perhaps you’ve spent days staring at your budget, but you can’t think of a way to do things any better than you are now. The problem might be that you’re simply too close to the problem. Asking a friend or family member to check out your budget and give you their thoughts could be a great way to break you out of your tunnel vision. A new perspective is sometimes all we need to uncover solutions to problems that we never thought of before.
Remember, avoid running your budget by anyone you consider to be too opinionated or overbearing. The last thing you need is a guilt-trip for your financial choices.
2. Use Cash more than Plastic
One of the best ways to change your financial habits is to pay more attention to how you spend your money. Many people struggle to track their expenses when they’re paying for things with a debit or credit card. Flashing a piece of plastic is much easier than counting out the actual money for everything you buy.
Changing your strategy so that you spend cash more often and leave your plastic at home forces you to take an active approach to your finances. At first, organizing all of your cash will seem like more of a headache than a help, but when you get used to it, you’ll begin to see the benefits.
3. Change your Routine
If you’ve ever set a new year’s resolution, you’ll know that major lifestyle changes aren’t easy to make. If you want your strategies to last, then you need to get rid of bad habits and implement new ones. This process starts with figuring out where you’re doing the most damage to your financial situation. For instance, do you constantly spend money on work lunches when you could save cash with a packed lunch?
Do you spend a fortune every time you see a sale, even though you rarely need the items that you buy? Go through your most recent bank statements and highlight anything that may stand out as a trigger for bad financial behavior. Though it can be difficult to come to terms with your shortcomings at first, it’s the only way to make a real change.
4. Get Some Help
Just like quitting smoking or losing weight, a major goal like changing your spending habits is something that requires plenty of support from people who love and care about you. Telling your friends and family what you’re doing can make your life a lot easier. Not only does it give you people to hold yourself accountable to, but it also means that you’ll have someone to keep you motivated when time gets tough.
Additionally, getting help from your loved ones will also reduce the chance that you’ll end up saying “yes” every time you’re invited out for a meal or a couple of drinks. Your friends will know that you’re trying to save money, which means that they might switch a night on the town for a couple of drinks at home, or a home-cooked meal when they want to hang out.
5. Think Outside of the Box
Budgeting doesn’t have to be all about cutting down expenses by spending less on the things that you enjoy. Sometimes, you can cut the costs of other “essential” fees in your life too. For instance, can you compare the prices of your loans before you take them out to ensure you get a better interest rate? Maybe you could even consolidate some of your debts into a new loan with better terms?
If you’re spending a fortune on things like electricity, could switching your provider help you to save a significant amount of cash each month?
6. Stay Strong
Finally, sometimes trying to get out of a financial rut won’t be easy. You’ll need to stay committed to your goals, and focused on the target that you want to achieve. Though there’s a good chance that you’ll fall off the wagon from time to time, don’t give up. Pick yourself up, brush yourself up, and keep trying to make positive changes.