Is your bank account overdrawn – again? Do you tire of skipping out on dinner with friends because you can only afford to order the side salad as a main dish? While it's tempting to think that more money is the solution to the problem, things might be made worse because of your relationship with money. Your unhealthy attachment to your finances may need some serious repair.
Bad relationships take work to turn things around, and money matters are no different. Identify which of these situations represent your attitude toward cash and take the first step in getting things back on track.
Scenario 1: You check your bank account and have more than you expected. What do you do with it?
A) Celebrate with a takeaway or a spending spree. After all, you deserve it
B) Go back to your budgeting app to make sure you didn't miscalculate, then check to see if money was deposited by mistake. If the windfall is legitimate, make plans to pay off any debts or transfer it over to your saving account for a rainy day.
C) Ignore it. Pretend it doesn't exist and don't make plans to use it.
Scenario 2: Tickets to the event you wanted to go to are selling out fast! Payday might not get here before those last seats are gone. How do you handle it?
A) Put it on your credit card. It's usually reserved for emergencies, but you can make an exception just this once.
B) Get the cheap tickets, you might have to miss out on some of the experience but at least you won't leave yourself in a financial bind.
C) Make plans to binge the latest crime drama that night. That's all you deserve for being so lax with your savings.
Scenario 3: You see a few charges you don't recognise on your debit card statement. How do you respond?
A) You'll get around to asking your bank about it when you have time. Definitely. Maybe.
B) Lunch break is coming up soon. If you eat fast, you can ring your local branch and get to the bottom of it.
C) Cut up the card and vow never to use it again. It's obvious you can't handle the responsibility.
Scenario 4: A friend asks for a loan to pay their rent this month but loaning it out would be a burden. What do you say?
A) You're happy to help out your friend even if it puts you in a tight spot this month
B) You want to help but you have to let your friend down because you've done the maths and you don't have the cash to spare.
C) Avoid them, not talking about it will make it go away… right?
If you picked mostly A's, you may not be taking your cash situation seriously enough. You could benefit from buddying up with a wiser money role model who can help you navigate your impulsive actions. Make a vow to give yourself a 24-hour waiting period before any major purchase. This will help you cool off and think about your decisions more practically.
If you picked mostly B's, you are on track to some major money milestones. Not only do you think about your relationship with money in a very mature way, but you're open to learning and improving on what you don't know. Since there's always room to grow, look into mastering some more sophisticated money topics, such as investing! Here's some apps to get you started.
If your answers were full of C's, it's clear that you despise confrontation and would rather stick your head in the sand then deal with what's at hand. Since money issues never go away on their own, take a deep breath and start by assessing the health of your finances. It's going to feel very uncomfortable at first but being honest is the surest path to creating that healthy money mindset you deserve.
Most of us don't have an entirely functional or dysfunctional relationship with money, so you may find that you struggle in only a few key areas. Simply admitting that you have some work to do is a huge first step. Next, you'll want to check out our budgeting and savings articles designed to help you meet your financial goals – no matter what's been holding you back in the past.