Halloween stories are aplenty these days. You might have that friend who has a third eye and sees things that are out of this world or one who keeps dreaming of being chased by zombies and wakes up with anxiety attacks for fear of the walking dead. OK, the second one is probably due to binge-watching on Netflix or your local cable.
The point is, listening to these stories is enough to bring chills down your spine. Pretty much how you feel upon finding out that your credit card has been suspended, at a time when your days of absence at work are going to cost you major cuts in your next salary.
Seriously, could things get any worse? That’s not quite impossible, especially if you’re part of today’s generation of millennials who may be too naïve to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of mismanaging one’s money.
While financial problems could happen to anyone, you could make a resolution to be wise on how you spend. The goal is to spare yourself from coming face to face with these Halloween-level financial scares:
1. Can’t get out of debt
Debt is one of the main obstacles to financial freedom and security. If you’re not disciplined enough, you could be deep in debt swiping one credit card after another whenever you go shopping or travel spree.
Don’t wait until your credit card debt gets out of hand. Contact your credit card company to discuss more favorable payment options such as waiving of penalty charges or annual fees.
You may also be taking out more personal loans than you can afford to pay from who knows how many banks. In such case, you may consolidate all your loans under the bank that can give you the lowest interest rate.
2. Bills, bills, and more bills
Bills can haunt you, hound you, harass you. And yet, we could all be guilty of letting bills pile up until the final notice is served. On top of that, you must pay penalty charges and reconnection fees, which add up to more money being lost.
Being diligent in paying bills is a good practice that can save you a lot of trouble. You could enroll your phone, cable, or insurance accounts with your bank’s auto-debit options so that you won’t miss any payment.
You could also make use of nifty calendar apps that alert you when you have a payment schedule coming up. If you know that bills payment would leave you with no cash to spend until the next payday, you could always bring your valuable smartphone, tablet, laptop, DSLR camera, or other personal items to an online pawnshop.
3. No money during emergencies
Ideally, you should have some money stashed somewhere, regardless if it’s just an improvised safe deposit box or a bank account meant for an emergency fund. This way, you’ll have enough funds should something unfortunate happens such as a medical emergency.
4. Creating a budget that actually works for you
Very few people love budgeting, much less practice it because it could make you feel like you’re depriving yourself of the money that you worked so hard for.
Creating your budget plan, however, can be a great first step to bring back the sense of self-control that you tend to lose as you encounter problems with your cash flow.
A simple, typical budget should indicate your net income, your projected expenditures, and your savings goal. The idea is to keep track where your money goes so that you could see which area needs more of your cost-cutting skills and put a portion of your money toward your goals.
If you see that last month’s budget was way off your target, keep at it until you come up with the best budget that suits the current status of your finances.
5. Being a perpetual renter
Renting a posh condo near your office may be counter-productive to having your dream home someday. Sure, it can help you save time and money that you would otherwise spend on traveling, but it also brings with it some pressure for you to blend in with the crowd.
Further, you could find yourself splurging on luxurious purchases, whether it’s having gourmet food delivered to your doorstep, bringing home the latest smart TV, or falling for exclusive privileges courtesy of the fitness gym that’s located on the condo premises.
Setting your sights on your dream home and picturing your family in it might just be what you need to break free from being a high-maintenance tenant to becoming a high-value property owner.
Financial problems can be really scary. But with the proper mindset and financial knowledge, you can take better control of your finances. By next year’s Halloween, hopefully, you would have been past all these dark moments and be able to tell others about your gruesome financial story.
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