We all strive to be independent. Even as kids, most of us couldn’t wait to get older so we could do what we wanted when we wanted (yeah, that’s going great). One thing that I struggled with, and I’m sure others have/do as well, is asking for help. Relinquishing that hard-fought independence for even a second is a hard pill to swallow for most. What you can learn with time is that only the wisest of us know when it’s time to call for backup. This leads us to today’s topic; knowing when you need help with your spending.
How to tell when you need help with your spending
Knowing when you need help with your credit
Controlling your credit is a big part of controlling your overall spending. The lower your credit card debt, the more money you have for savings, bills, and generally enjoying life. According to Consumer Credit, there are a few telltale signs your credit is getting the best of you:
- Paying your bills after the payment due date
- Missing your credit card/ loan payments altogether
- Relying on overtime to cover your debt-related expenses
- Borrowing from family members to make your monthly debt payments
- Skipping one credit card bill to pay another
Points 1, 2, and 5 are pretty straightforward. There is no clearer sign for knowing when you need help with your spending than falling further behind on your debt. Points 3 and 4 are more nuanced.
Relying on overtime to cover your debt-related expenses
Most people can’t guarantee overtime opportunities so that money is inconsistent. Your debt is not. Relying on what are usually wildly inconsistent shifts is a bad look when trying to get ahead of your debt. Also, consistently working extra hours runs the risk of burning you out faster than the normal daily grind does. You owe it to yourself to take care of you and try to minimize the time you spend working unscheduled hours.
Borrowing from family members to make your monthly debt payments
As for borrowing money, well, it can be tricky. Though this can seem like a form of getting help, which is what we’re here for, the potential cons outweigh the pro of paying a bill. Considering they may hold it against you depending on how long it takes to pay them back, they may request something outrageous in exchange, or simply deny your request putting you right back at square one, it typically isn’t worth it. Also, this is only a temporary fix if you can’t solve the underlying issue of either not having enough income or living beyond your means.
Knowing when you need help with impulse spending
The bane of any budget: impulse spending. It is increasingly difficult in this digital era to curb the impulse to buy anything and everything that sparks our interest because it’s just so easy to do. That ease is exactly why your average American spends upwards of $314 on impulse purchases. Numbers like that can easily derail your budget and make it difficult to get ahead of your debt or savings plans.
Avoidance becomes harder when you consider that around 63% of shopping is triggered via the internet. That means whether you’re actually finalizing your purchase online or, like me, obsessing over every stat and review before you run out to the store, the internet remains undefeated in motivating people to shop. Constantly and consistently falling prey to that trigger is a definite red flag for knowing when you need help with your spending.
Knowing where to get help
If nothing else, we here at Nav.it try to be solution oriented. Dealing with these real and sometimes overwhelming problems needs real help. Here are some places to start:
- Automation – using an app to budget helps you visualize things better and can ease the overwhelming feeling of “not doing enough” or forgetting something.
- Working with a money coach – sometimes digital just isn’t enough and working with a money coach can help with financial accountability and addressing your goals in a more tangible way.
- Hiring a financial planner – depending on your financial situation and your goals, you may need to go big and hire a licensed professional to help guide your through your journey.
- Therapy – never forget your mental health plays a huge role in your relationship with money and you may need a professional to help you find the “why” behind some of your money moves.
Again, I suggest against borrowing money from friends and family because this can create unnecessary stress and strain on your relationship. Fixing the foundational issues will always help you more in the long run than trying to band-aid the situation. However, if you feel comfortable with it, talking to them about your situation may lead you to solutions you may not have considered on your own. I would take it on a case-by-case basis.
Knowing when to get help with your spending can be hard.
Sometimes we can be so ‘in’ our situations that we can’t really see the situation. Take some time today to reflect on your relationship with your money, what your goals are, and whether you’re on track to get there. If not, never feel bad about reaching out for help. You deserve the support and you deserve to achieve what your dream of. Go get it!