Have you lost touch with your finances and allowed your relationship to fizzle? Do you dread weekly encounters with your checking balance or monthly endeavors to pay your bills? Are you wondering how you went from looking forward to handling your own finances as you left the family home and began life on your own to feeling anxious and even angry about handling them? If so, then perhaps it is time to put the love of money back into your life.
Yes, we all love money. I know I do, especially when I have it. Let’s face it though; a relationship with money isn’t always a pretty one. There’s typically a lot of dishonesty going on once the honeymoon is over. Most of us would rather pretend that everything is all right and there’s nothing wrong with being in debt – just look at how many people owe money to half a dozen credit card agencies, personal physicians, and banks. It’s like being part of a club without ever having to attend meetings.
However, if you get down deep and dirty, you can take a long, hard look at your finances and formulate a plan to put your affairs back in order again. If you are like most people, the problem is simply that you don’t have enough money even though you pretend that you do. You keep spending your money, buying items on credit or extended installment plans for two plain-and-simple reasons. First, you like buying stuff that you want, and second, the stores make it so easy for you to buy merchandise on credit that it really is hard to resist.
The real problem here is that once you fall out of love with your personal bookkeeping, you begin to avoid it. The checkbook doesn’t get balanced, and fairly soon, you receive the dreaded notice from the bank that you have not one, not two, but three overdraft charges totaling more than a hundred dollars! Not only that, but because you keep putting off your date with that pile of bills, you now have four late fees getting attached to your debt. Seems like the only one getting any loving here at all is your debt, which just keeps getting its attention from all the wrong aspects of the finance world.
You begin to wonder why bother worrying. You put off looking at your finances beneath the surface. All you do is check to see what the minimum balance due is, write the check, or arrange for electronic withdrawal of the payment. Now, your money is their money. Doesn’t feel all that good, does it? Of course not! No one wants to feel cheated or thrown over for someone better, but when you are the one pushing the love of your life in the wrong direction, it is even more frustrating.
Nonetheless, you find yourself holding the same credit card despite the fact that the interest rates on the card are outrageous, the annual fee has increased yet again, and the late fee is enough to buy you lunch for three days. What are you thinking? Why are you letting things happen to you instead of creating a world in which you know that every penny you earn is going to a better place?
It’s time to go a-courting and take your finances out for a whirl of a good time that rekindles your love of money without pretending that the extra finance charges aren’t going to weigh you down like so much excess baggage. If you approach money properly, it will respond to your persuasive ways and give you more of what you want.
Falling in Love with Finance – One Step at a Time
Just as with any romantic liaison, it is important to start at the beginning and remember what you used to love about financial matters. Remember the independence you felt, the freedom of having more money than ever before, and the great sense of joy you experienced each time your savings balance grew?
Walking Through Life Hand-in-Hand with Personal Finance and a Smile
Take baby steps during this process to rediscover your love of finance and put some spice back into the relationship. Plan a date to get reacquainted. Create a chart with multiple columns depicting your existing debts and assets. Use headings such as set-in-place monthly debts (mortgage or rent, insurance, tuition, loans), variable monthly debts (individual credit cards with minimum due and full balance), and expenditures (groceries, fuel, medical, dental, etc). Highlight the expenses that aren’t really necessary at this point in your life. Breathe deeply, there’s no need to stress. This is a first date, remember. It doesn’t even go to first base.
Plan a second date. Call up every credit card company for which you hold an account and ask them to wave the annual fee and lower the interest rate. Tell them you are looking around for more affordable credit, and you might get a few companies to give you a break by dropping the annual fee. You should be happier now, because you just saved some money. Feels good, doesn’t it?
On your next date, you are probably going to have your first spat. It’s time to trim the fat. You can’t keep all of your credit cards if you want to have any money left to love. Choose the accounts with the highest interest rates or fees. Take them out of your wallet and stop using them. Once you pay off their balances, call up and close the accounts. It’s also time to minimize your monthly expenditures by shopping around for cheaper car, life, and homeowner’s insurances.
Plan regular dates to pay your bills and balance your checking account to avoid paying extra fees. The more time you spend reviewing your financial situation, the better equipped you are going to be to keep it in order. As you begin to save money, you are going to rediscover just why you used to love handling your finances so much!