We’re all familiar with spending extremes: the spendthrift who declares bankruptcy because of mountains of personal debt, the miser who dies leaving an unsuspected fortune behind. People are very different when it comes to handling money.
Does "now you see it, now you don’t" describe what happens to your paycheck? Do you charge items as soon as there’s room on your credit cards? If you just can’t resist spending, you need to work on taking control of your finances by spending less and saving more. Devise a plan to pay off your credit cards. Remove temptation to spend by increasing your retirement plan payroll deduction. Or contribute to an IRA through an automatic checking account deduction. You might even want to request lower credit limits while you pay down card balances.
Is the proverbial "first dollar you ever made" hanging in a frame on your wall? Are you still wearing clothes you bought in college? If you have enough money stashed away for an entire rainy season, maybe you need to examine your lack of spending habits. While frugality can be admirable, too much of a good thing may keep you and your family from sharing activities that would be worth a lot more than what’s in your bank account. Sure, you should save and invest — but not every cent. Develop a budget that allows you to accumulate assets and still live comfortably.
Disorganized to a Fault
Can’t find your checkbook, let alone last month’s bank statement? Don’t know how much you’ve charged on your credit cards because the sales slips have fallen between the sofa cushions? Not knowing where your money goes or how much is in your bank account is a sure path to financial disaster. Invest in a filing system and start organizing everything related to your finances: bank and financial statements, pay stubs, bills, credit and debit card receipts, and ATM and deposit slips. Then review your spending habits. You may be surprised at how you spend your money. When it comes to finances, remember that having a balanced "money personality" is key.