Struggling to get a handle on your finances? It’s easy to blame money problems on income shortages, the high cost of living, financial emergencies, and a host of other issues that life throws your way. But have you ever thought about your lifestyle and how it could be the underlying cause of your money woes? 

There’s no need to be ashamed if you’re dealing with serious money problems. However, you must address the issues head-on sooner than later to get a handle on your finances and alleviate the added stress. Read on to discover some ways your lifestyle may be contributing to your money struggles, along with possible solutions to get over the hump. 

Problem #1: Your Money Mindset is Flawed 

Are you an optimist or pessimist? Those who look for the good in every situation instead of focusing on everything that could go wrong tend to be proactive with their finances and practice healthy money management habits. 

But if life has reared its ugly head on several occasions as of late and you’re finding it hard to see the silver lining, it’s no surprise if you’re a bit of a pessimist. The problem is when you dwell on the negatives instead of the positives, this toxic mindset tends to spill over into your finances and cause major problems for you and your wallet. 

To illustrate, if you constantly complain about your pay or how little you have in your bank account, financial emergencies always seem to creep up, forcing you to blow up your budget or rely on debt to get by. And even if you do save money, it’s only a matter of time before your bank account is empty again because does come up. 

But if you decide to be grateful for the money you do have and commit to managing it wisely and finding ways to earn more, you’ll be much better off. And you’ll also feel more in control with those unexpected expenses do surface

See the difference? By being pessimistic, you’re inviting negative energy and you’ll more than likely remain stuck in the same money rut for years to come. But choosing to accept your financial situation for the time being and being optimistic about the future, you’ll make your money work for you while identifying more opportunities to boost your bottom line and beef up your bank account. 

The Solution 

You may find it harder than you expected to shift your money mindset, particularly if it stems from values that were instilled in you from childhood. But it must be done if you want to overcome and keep your money problems at bay. Otherwise, you will always find ways to sabotage your progress or prevent yourself from taking the first step to remove the flawed belief from your mind that you’re doomed for failure, no matter what.  

To get started, jot down all your thoughts about money and reframe the negative thoughts. Next, assess your current financial situation and make the connection between your money mindset and the current outcomes. Finally, rewrite your money story and commit to doing whatever it takes to make this new vision a reality. 

Problem #2: You Go With the Flow Instead of Setting Money Goals and Executing

How are you supposed to accomplish the goals you set for yourself without having a plan of action? If you want a better job, you have to first decide what you want that new role to look like. Then, you have to take the necessary steps, like networking, tweaking your resume and cover letter, and submitting applications to give yourself the best possible chance of meeting your goal sooner than later. 

The same rule applies to money goals. It’s nice to dream of getting out of debt or saving up for your dream home. But the chances of getting there are slim to none if you fail to set a deadline or come up with a plan to help you reach the finish line. 

And if you find yourself having visions but never quite getting around to make them a reality, chances are this same issue is carrying over into your finances and causing money problems. But there’s a solution! 

The Solution

As the famous quote by Napoleon Hill states, “a goal is a dream with a deadline.” So while goal setting is important, it’s equally important to take action.

Start by jotting down your three most pressing financial goals as they relate to the money problems you’re having. They could be creating an emergency fund, paying off debt, following a budget, or anything along these lines. Once you’ve done so, break the goal down into small, digestible chunks and work your butt off until you complete all the steps on your task list. 

Problem #3: You Feel Entitled 

You work hard so you can spend your money however you’d like. Sounds good, but it depends on your financial situation. The problem is so many feel a false sense of entitlement and would rather satisfy their cravings than handle business first, even if it’s at the expense of their financial wellbeing. 

The Solution

It’s possible to work hard and play harder, but it’s a must you get your financial house in order first. Set the ego aside and work on problem areas in your finances. Also, explore ways to curb costs while earning more so you can treat yourself without compromising your financial health. Remember, short-term pain for long-term gain. 

Problem #4: You Spend Freely

Maybe a spending plan makes you feel like a dog on a leash and you’d prefer to live life on your terms. 

Newsflash: If executed properly, a spending plan can serve as a roadmap to help achieve your financial goals. So while it will curb the unnecessary spending, you’ll accomplish what you set out to do promptly without all the confusion. 

If you’ve tried budgeting your money before and failed miserably, think back on why it didn’t work. Were you trying to accomplish something in particular? Was the budget unrealistic? Did you use some complicated mobile app or software only to end up frustrated and give up? Did you leave wiggle room for a little fun or was the plan super strict? Chances are you answered yes to one of these questions, which is why your budget failed. But history doesn’t have to keep repeating itself. 

The Solution

Stop spending freely and set a realistic budget that incorporates financial goals that make you excited about managing your money. The idea is to cut all the frivolous expenses so you can spend your money on the things you love most while accomplishing your financial goals. 

Don’t know where to start? Check out this handy guide right over here

Problem #5: You View Credit as a Form of Increased Purchasing Power

When you step foot into a shopping mall retail outlet or shop online, you feel empowered because you have the magic plastic on your side to buy anything that catches your attention. And you don’t think twice about swiping your credit card because it gives you more time to pay on the purchase since you don’t have to fork over cash for the full amount of the purchase right away. And it’s not like you could afford it, anyway. 

Sound familiar? Using a credit card or other debt product to finance a high-dollar item isn’t the end of the world, but you have to ask yourself if the interest you’ll pay is worth the benefit you’re receiving. In many instances, the answer is a resounding no! 

Relying on credit to live a lifestyle that’s clearly beyond your means is also dangerous because even if you can afford the payments out the gate, you may end up in trouble later on down the line if you keep the cycle going or unexpectedly lose income and can no longer make timely payments. Even worse, for every dollar you waste now on non-necessities, you could be robbing your future self. 

The Solution

If you’re addicted to the magic plastic or up to your eyeballs in debt, it’s time to downgrade your lifestyle. While it’s not necessary to buy everything in cash, you should devise a plan to alleviate the debt load and only make purchases using credit that you can comfortably afford to pay back. Credit is a tool if used wisely, but it shouldn’t be abused to elevate your status or change how others will perceive you. 

Problem #6: You Don’t Take Care of Your Body 

Believe it or not, money problems can take a toll on your mental and physical health. But what’s even more surprising is that leading an unhealthy lifestyle can also trigger money problems. 

How so? Well, if you’re constantly running on fumes instead of getting the recommended six to eight hours of sleep per night, not exercising, or making poor food choices, you could place your body under an increased level of stress. And with stress comes a weakened immune system, which makes you more prone to illnesses. And if you deprive yourself enough of the self-care you deserve, you could end up hospitalized, which in turn means more medical bills. 

But even if things don’t get bad enough to warrant an overnight hospital stay, improper self-care could lead to clouded judgment as you’ll be more inclined to make decisions on the fly, even if they could have serious long-term implications for your finances. 

The Solution 

Take a few days to unwind and give your body the attention it deserves. And while on your mini-retreat, devise a plan of action to better manage your time so you can get more sleep. Also, commit to a meal plan that ensures you get the nutrition you need and work in some time for daily exercise, meditation, and journaling going forward. By making these simple changes to your lifestyle, you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel. Even better, your body and wallet will thank you. 

The Bottom Line 

While you may not be able to solve all your money problems overnight, the first step towards improving your financial situation is recognizing you have a problem and committing to doing something about it. And by making small adjustments to your lifestyle, you’ll foster a more positive relationship with money and your financial troubles will start to fade. Best of all, you’ll be better positioned to lead a happier, healthier, more productive and stress-free life. 

Author

Allison Martin is a syndicated financial writer, author, and Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). She has written about personal finance for almost ten years and holds a master's degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida. Allison's work has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, ABC, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Fox Business, Credit.com, MoneyTalksNews, Investopedia, The Simple Dollar, and a host of other reputable publications. She also travels around the nation facilitating financial literacy and business workshops to individuals from all walks of life. In her spare time, Allison enjoys traveling, cuddling up with a good book, and spending time with family. She lives in Florida with her husband and two young sons.

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