What do you do when you find yourself in a situation where struggling to make ends meet turns into a gut-gripping fear that haunts you night and day? The sound of your phone ringing, a bad dream, or a bill arriving in the mail can send you into a downward spiral of thoughts, centered around a lack of security that can feel next to impossible to pull out of.
You know you need to do something but from the cloud of thoughts swimming in your head, there is no clear path to lead you out of the web you’re trapped in. You’re tapped out of time, your credit is maxed out as well, and the options in front of you feel ever so bleak.
This is the life of so many people today. The “experts” say the economy is turning around, but for thousands and thousands of people there is no sign of hope on the horizon.
I’m going to share with you some suggestions in this post that will help you to stop the negative thoughts and help you get into a better mindset where you will be able see the opportunities before you.
You might be asking, “Who are you to talk?” I’m not a financial expert or a money guru, and I’ll never claim to be one. Instead I’m a mom of three and a wife who found herself in a heap of debt. I’m successfully working my way out of it and I know without a doubt that you can too. You just need someone to believe in you, help hold you accountable, and show you the way.
When you’re consumed with money fears, you are clinging to a victim mindset that is focused on your problems and your worries, which quite frankly leads to avoiding the problem all together.
I’m here to tell you that passing the buck on this financial pickle you’re in is no way to get ahead. You need to take responsibility for where you are right now so you can start steering your financial ship toward calmer seas.
Worrying about money (or anything really) is a great excuse to avoid doing something about it. The act of worrying makes you feel like you’re doing something, when all you’re really doing is ignoring taking action to correct the situation.
You may not have caused the company you worked for to go under or your housing values to tank, but I’m sure some of the choices you’ve made in the past play a big part in the position you’re in right now. Here’s proof: if other people are succeeding in a tanked economy then you could be too.
I can promise you that people who are winning in this economy are not better or smarter than you are, they’re just making different choices and taking different actions than you have been.
So quit burying your head in the sand and stop making excuses. It’s time to face the facts and figure out exactly where you are financially. Go on a scavenger hunt for all those bills you’ve stashed in different places of your house and gather them all in one place. Open up those envelopes you were too scared to open when they arrived and tally up all your expenses. Who do you owe and how much do you owe them?
Give yourself permission to cry if you need to, scream and loathe yourself for a while if necessary, but don’t linger there. All too often we like to stay in that self wallowing place a little too long. Beating ourselves up about choices we made in the past is just as much avoidance as worrying is.
That’s exactly what you’re looking at, by the way: the past. Those bills are a result of choices you made in the past and you’re so lucky that you have an opportunity now to make different choices in the future! Promise me you’ll celebrate that after you’re done having your pity party, okay?
In order to get yourself into a more abundant mindset, sit down and make a list of 100 things you can do to make more money and get control of your finances. While some of them will be ridiculous, I bet a few of them will be viable solutions.
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
You have three main options to create more monthly cash flow:
- Paying down your debt
- Making more money
- Spending less money
Turn your clutter into cash: I was on a conference call with Bruce Ammons a year or so ago, where he taught about creating some cash flow to pay down some debts quickly. He suggested that we sell some stuff to apply to our credit cards, and used an example of a guy who sold a classic car he owned for $20K and paid down several credit cards at once.
After the call, I took a trip to the basement and put a bunch of stuff up on eBay. I also put dozens of books up on Amazon and together with what I made from those two activities, I paid off two cards within that month that freed up over $250 in monthly cash flow.
Tip: If you’re feeling deprived selling your stuff remember that most often the benefits of freeing up that cash flow will way outweigh the benefits of holding on to your things. Especially when you consider that it will allow you to create some positive cash flow and bring you closer to financial peace.
Turn what you know into dough: When I was first coming to terms with our financial dilemma, I had just created a 50th anniversary video for my grandparents with lots of family pictures set to music to play during their anniversary party. Several relatives and friends of the family came to me, and asked me to create videos for them for a graduation, a wedding, and even a baby’s 1st birthday gift. While it’s not what I did for a living, because I was open to opportunities to create some extra cash flow, I accepted and generated a nice little boost that allowed us to get caught up.
Tip: It’s easy to forget that what comes easily to you does not come easily to everyone. If you’re stuck, ask some people close to you what they see your strengths are to uncover some potential talents you could trade for extra income.
Turn your expenses into income or creative ways to save: For the last 13 years, I’ve had a home based business that has allowed me to write off several of our household expenses like utilities, Internet, computer upgrades, mileage, and mortgage every year on our taxes. This has resulted in a nice savings for my husband and I and a great way to throw a little extra money at our debt when tax time rolls around.
Tip: FatWallet ‘s cash back deals and store coupons are great places to start when you’re looking for ways to save on your purchases. Also try calling your cell phone and cable company to see if you can bundle services or get into a lower priced package. Other suggestions are to adjust your thermostat, brew coffee at home, read your newspaper online, and adjust your tax with-holdings to give you more monthly cash flow when you need it.
So, here’s your choice. Are you going to toss and turn in bed tonight, worried about the financial tangle you’ve created for yourself or are you going to sleep soundly knowing that you’ve taken the first steps to taking back control of your life?
May I suggest that while your mind is busy brainstorming more ideas to get control of your finances, you take a minute to jot them down in the comments and share this post with others! We can all benefit from each other’s money experiences and cash flow creating ideas!
Oh, and if you’d like some accountability on this topic, head over to the FatWallet Facebook page and connect with the cash savvy and super helpful people who hang out there and share their tips!
Here’s to your financial success!