We all have strengths and weaknesses.
I am terrible at math. Like, counting on my fingers even though I'm 36 terrible.
Math teachers used to tell me I had to work on it because "it's not like you'll always have a calculator with you"
In your face, Math Teachers.
I am pretty good at personal finance though....but it wasn't always that way. It was a skill I had to learn on my own, through LOTS of trial and error. Through applying what I learned via mistakes.
This is kind of how we get good at any skill: trial and error....and knowing when to ask questions and say "I don't know".
But how do you KNOW if you're bad with money? Here are 10 signs I put together that may point to you being not so handy with the budget, if ya know what I mean.
1. You Are a Chronic "Late Payer"
Late payments on anything has always been one of my greatest fears. When I first moved out on my own as a young adult, I believed if you paid something even a DAY late....they would throw you in jail, destroy your financial future, take your car, turn off your lights....whatever.
Even after I realized that doesn't really happen until you become one of those people who doesn't pay bills regularly....well...regularly, I still became obsessed with getting things in on time.
People who are bad with money pay things late....or not at all...mostly because they're not on top of their budget or organized with their schedule of payments.
What's helped me is a written calendar. Writing things down is proven to help you remember them. You can also set up automatic payments through most banks.
2. You Spend to Get Yourself Out of a Bad Mood
This is SO friggin' dangerous. Because bad moods are unplanned....typically. So the spending is unplanned. And usually you're gonna go off and buy a bunch of crap you don't need.
3. Your Credit Rating Sucks
Now, being a follower of Dave Ramsey we don't worry TOO much about our FICO scores. But, they're amazing. Because of afore mentioned chronic on-time payments of everything. But, if you're bad with money, your credit rating is probably pretty crappy. Because, well....you're bad with money.
4. You Buy More Than You Can Afford
You're probably easily persuaded by salesmen talking about "affordable payments" or easy financing. Because you don't think about it further than "do I have that payment for next month in the bank". So, you're gonna buy more car, more house, more entertainment items than you really can afford.
5. You Have Absolutely No Budget
Budget? What's a budget? Budgets are boring. Too controlling. Pshaw!! You don't need no stinkin' budget! You'll stop spending when the money runs out!
6. You Don't Save
This is kind of a given, but with the "Now is important, screw the future" mentality of most folks who are bad with money, they probably don't have a whole lot invested for the future....or saved....or much of a plan where that is concerned.
7. Credit Cards = Free Money
Your view of credit is more spending power....a means to get what you want that you can't readily afford with cash. Your way of using credit is irresponsible and dangerous. Which leads you to overspending and a cruddy credit rating. It's all cyclical.
8. If You Can Find Someone Else to Handle It, You Will
A lot of folks who are bad with money will seek out a partner who is at least FAIR with finances, so they just don't have to worry about it....removing all personal responsiblity for the whole hullabaloo. Or, they'll live in their parent's basement forever. That can happen. (shudder)
9. Bills Surprise You
If you get a credit card bill in the mail and you're afraid to open it because you have NO CLUE what the number inside is.....you just know it's BIG....you're probably bad with money.
Bills shouldn't surprise you. If you have a budget and you're on top of it, they should be relatively easy to predict.
10. You're Stressed Out
Here's the thing. I probably stress about money too much. Mostly because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (legitimately) and I stress about everything. I'm aware of this huge flaw of mine and I try very hard to remind myself that I'm doing everything in my power to keep our finances easy to manage and organized.
But, if you find you're regularly getting to the end of the money before the end of the month....or you're awake at night in cold sweats over exactly HOW you're going to manage to pay something....this is the biggest sign that something has to change.
I have NEVER understood folks that could owe THOUSANDS and not fret about it. I always hope that maybe they are secretly stressed and they're just really good at hiding it (otherwise they're obviously aliens). Owing money is SCARY....and stressful. Having lost control of your finances is scary....and stressful.
But there is ALWAYS hope. There is always a chance to say ENOUGH and to regain control.
So, even if do suck with money, you don't ALWAYS have to be that way. You can be reformed! The first step?
Take a look in the mirror....and say "Self....you suck at this. And it's okay. We are gonna get better."
Today? Today is Day 1.