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Are You Just a Financial Mess? Tips for Pulling Yourself Out of the Pit

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This post was written by Tyler Thompson

Let’s face it, few people in this world manage their money perfectly and are wholly disciplined when it comes to their spending and investing. Once you move past these totally money-savvy folks, the degree of financial problems an individual can face can varies significantly.

Some people could just stand to be a bit better with their money, but have no real issues that are negatively impacting their day to day life. Some are better at budgeting and specific goals can firm things up really nicely.

Then, there are the people with myriad problems, such as mounting debt, no savings and late payments. These folks have anxiety about their finances as a constant companion. They know something is wrong, but are kind of in denial, so things just get worse. If you fall in this camp, and are ready to take a stand, here are just a few helpful tips to get things moving in the right direction.

Bringing the Issue to Light

When it comes to really kicking money problems, you have to be willing to bring all the issues to the surface. You are certainly aware you are having money troubles, but have probably done a really good job at denying the extent of it. Our minds are really good at finding ways to protect ourselves from our true reality, especially when it comes to finances.

But, you can’t solve the problem until you know exactly what the problem is. What troubles are you having exactly? How much debt do you have, and to whom do you owe it? Are you late with any payments? Have any creditors put your account into collections? Besides debt, what are your other money issues? What specific anxieties do you have? Is it just about debt, or are you worried about lack of a savings account, or that you haven’t been contributing to a retirement fund?

How much money do you have coming in each month? There’s a good chance budget may be a foreign word to you, so make one. Think about your spending habits. What are your ‘weak spots?’ Do you tend to go overboard on weekends out? Are you spending a bit too much on eating out when you could probably be cooking at home more?


Check Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report once a year is always a good idea to make sure all the information is accurate. But, lots of people don’t do this, making the assumption that such an important document would be correct. But, this is a dangerous assumption to make, and could make your credit score suffer. If you do have negative information on there, don’t fall for the claims of many companies that they can remove negative items just like that.

It is true that negative items can be removed from your report, but only if the information represents an actual error, or the information can’t be verified. An example of the latter would be an account listed in collections with a company that is no longer in business and couldn’t attest to the debt. Removing negative items can be done yourself, but often times you would benefit from working with a legitimate credit repair company who can make sure it gets done quickly and properly.

Start Taking Immediate Action to Shift Energy and Gain Momentum

One of the reasons we fail to take action on our problems, financial or otherwise, is because the issue has gotten so big, it seems overwhelming to try and deal with it. If we feel we can’t make a significant dent in the problem, we don’t bother doing anything at all. We keep telling ourselves we’ll fix it, but things just stay the same. If your financial situation has gotten to the point where things are really falling apart, this probably sounds familiar to you.

While you may not be able to fix the whole mess overnight, you can certainly take actions that will provide some immediate relief. When you act, you will create a huge shift in your energy and how you feel. So, take stock of what is happening and decide what you can do right now to get back on track. Perhaps it is calling the creditors you have been ducking to try and set up some payment plan. Maybe it is adjusting your cell phone plan or cancelling your cable. Just do something that makes you feel like you are taking action.

If you can follow these three tips, you are well on your way to improving your finances, no matter how far down the hole you may be.


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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.