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Stuck in a Financial Hole? How to Stop Digging and Get Back on Track

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The extent to which we will make changes in our lives is often capped by what we think of as “normal.” If the majority of our friends and family carry a large amount of debt and have an otherwise dismal financial outlook, then we are more likely to think the struggles we have are “just the way it goes.”

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Figure out where your financial struggles stem from

Is a large disparity between your income and expenses causing your financial situation to worsen every month? Then it’s time to stop the bleeding by taking a careful look at your expenditures and cutting everything that isn’t an absolute necessity. Do you have subscription services on autopay? It’s time to ax them. Is your food budget out of control? Then it’s time to create a meal plan and take a hiatus from eating out.

Regardless of what is causing the problem, taking a look at the sequence of events that led you to this moment is key in determining the steps moving forward. You need to know the what & why before you know the how.

What:

What is the biggest cause of your financial strain right now? Student loan debt? Your mortgage? Find your pain points and understand where the leaks are.

Why:

Why are you currently in this situation? Is out-of-control spending obliterating your breathing room each month? Is a change in your job situation causing a decrease in disposable income? Take a look at what got you to this place.

How:

If your debt is at a completely unmanageable level, it may be time to consider debt reduction options. Or if haphazard spending is making your financial foundation unstable, a sound budget could lessen the strain.

It may not seem like it in the moment, but there is a solution for every struggle.

Know your stumbling blocks.

If change was easy, we’d all be better at it.

While the biggest obstacle may be making the decision to shift your financial situation, there are plenty of other challenges that will arise in the process. The key is recognizing the walls and dismantling them instead of simply turning around when they appear.

Here are a few you may run into:

Emotional:

Despite appearances, money management is closely tied to our emotions and financial struggle has an even closer link. Get to know how your emotions trigger certain money habits and how they might push you to give up on fixing your financial situation.

Mental:

A perceived lack of knowledge is an easy excuse to fall back on, and personal finance is one area many of us feel we are lacking in know-how. Before you give yourself a hall pass for this reason, take a look at all of the financial resources at your fingertips.

Physical:

Don’t feel like you have the physical resources to improve your financial situation? Not so fast. Sometimes we don’t immediately know the solution to a problem until we start seeking answers outside of ourselves and our immediate knowledge base. Again, there are plenty of resources out there to help – you simply have to ask.

With the inspiration, practical knowledge, and determination to overcome obstacles, there is nothing standing in your way of becoming a success story. Just remember: plenty of people have started in the same exact spot you stand today.

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