When I was a young sprout, I assumed that as long as I kept to the straight and narrow and avoided spending too much money on Starbucks, I would turn out just fine financially.
I was surprised to learn that money matters can be just a tiny bit trickier than I had imagined when I was younger and less disillusioned. Whether it’s something as huge as a foreclosure or just an occasionally busted budget, we all will eventually deal with complicated financial situations. Here are some common money woes people encounter and straightforward solutions to successfully tackle them.
1. No savings for emergencies
Emergencies are a fact of life — whether it’s a necessary car repair or a trip to the emergency room — but a recent national survey reported by CNBC found that 62 percent of Americans cannot cover unexpected expenses of just $500.
Solution: Get an emergency fund of $1,000. Put away $100 a month for 10 months so you can cover expenses. It’s an absolute must. You can scrounge up the $100 extra per month by cutting back on expenses for a short period of time, getting a little side hustle or selling stuff you don’t use on Craigslist.
2. Not budgeting
Budgeting sounds like about as much fun as a gluten-free diet during the holidays, but in fact, a household budget is just a road map to your financial goals. It’s really too bad that only 1 in 3 Americans prepares a detailed household budget to guide their spending decisions.
Solution: Find a budgeting program that works for you. A budget doesn’t have to be a painful exercise in relearning Excel. Use an intuitive online budgeting program like Mint to track your income and expenses.
3. Carrying debt on high-interest credit cards
The average credit card debt for Americans who carry debt is a whopping $15,762. If you, like many Americans, carry a high amount of debt on a high-interest credit card, you’re throwing money at minimum payments without making much of a dent in the balance — which is a great way to quickly lose money.
Solution: Consolidate your debt into a personal loan. Pooling all your debt into one loan reduces the likelihood of late payments and can also help ease your stress. Although debt consolidation isn’t a quick solution, it can lower your interest rates and monthly payments, and help lift the burden of debt from your shoulders.
4. Late payments
Solution: Set up automatic payments when possible; ask creditors to work with your pay period schedule. Don’t let forgetfulness cause a late fee. Instead, set up automatic payments. You can even ask your creditors to adjust their payment deadlines to fit with your schedule — always ask.
5. Emotional spending
We’ve all been there. After a hard week at work or home, the longing for a new dress or a pedicure shoots through the roof. An occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing, but it sure is if your splurges wreck your budget or financial goals.
Solution: Implement a 24-hour rule. The next time you see something you have to buy, pause for a hot second. If you still want to buy it 24 hours later, then consider returning to the store for the purchase.
This post was sponsored by Discover Personal Loans.