It's tempting to blame our financial problems on something, or someone, else. After all, if it's not your fault that you are in your current situation, you don't have to do anything to change.
However, if you are tired of the way things are going with your money, it's time to take responsibility for your finances and start making some serious changes.
Who's In Charge of Your Money?
Your first step is to decide who's in charge of your money. Figure out your relationship to money, and acknowledge who's been calling the shots.
Have you sort of abdicated your financial responsibilities? If you don't have a plan for your money, or any idea of how to use it to accomplish your objectives, you haven't really taken charge of your finances. Rather than just spending money on whatever comes along, think about your purchase decisions.
Acknowledge that maybe you didn't “have” to buy that item. When you take the time to consider your purchases, and then adjust some of your decisions based on what's really important to you, it's possible to take back control of your spending. Look at your priorities, and decide how you want your money to improve your life.
You need to own your spending and saving decisions. Rather than just going along, or letting someone else tell you what you are “supposed” to have, think about what you need and what you want.
What about the Unexpected?
Many of us find ourselves in unexpected situations. A couple of years ago, the groundwater invaded our home. I wasn't expecting to spend the money necessary to fix the damage, and I certainly didn't want to spend that money. However, it had to be done.
Even if you can't always control some of your financial setbacks, you can determine how you will meet them. We had enough of an emergency fund at the time to cover the costs related to our flooded downstairs. We also took steps to avoid the same problem in the future by having a sump pump installed.
While it might not be pleasant to think about worst-case scenarios, you still need to consider some of the unpleasant possibilities. You need to build up an emergency fund that can help you deal with unexpected expenses. You should also take steps — including buying insurance — to protect your assets.
Finally, you can protect yourself against job loss by developing your skills. Even if you lose your job, the right skill set can result in being hired by another company. You can also make it a point to educate yourself and develop the skills that might allow you to start your own business.
You might not be able to control everything that happens to you, but you can be better prepared. And you can prepare yourself to meet the challenges that might come up.
While your current money situation might not be entirely your fault, you won't see any improvement if you just complain about it. Instead, take charge of your finances going forward and create a plan to improve the situation.
Sarah Park says
I personally take care of our finances. It really takes a lot of effort to always stay on track with the budget and with all the expenses.
Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin says
I handle our finances but am slowly trying to get my wife onboard with investing. In the rare event that I do not have enough time I would like her to be able to manage our investments.
Wayne @ Young Family Finance says
I find that my wife keeps me accountable where finances are concerned. If I want to buy something that isn’t necessary, she’s good about challenging me and it helps me to be responsible. I’d definitely be spending more if I were single.
Fernando R says
I pay close attention to my purchase decisions like you mention on the text. I think about the pros and cons and other options before going through with a transaction. Also, I act as if I’m going to loose my job so I try my best to put money aside on my emergency account and have a big enough cushion for the “just in case”.
STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) says
Great post and here is a refinement as to the sump pump. We had two sumps in our basement when Hurricane Sandy hit. What we did not count on was not having electricity for 4 days. You got it a flooded basement. Thank god we had sump pump insurance. Now we even have sump pump backups installed on each of our sump pumps. We live and learn don’t we?