When you think of money problems, the most obvious one is easy: not having any. But even if you’ve got money, chances are you’ve got at least some money troubles. Having money comes with its own set of complications and responsibilities, and everyone needs a little help sometimes. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of seven common money problems and offered seven easy solutions to counter them.
Some people seem to always overspend, regardless of their income. The first step is to track where your money is going by recording every expenditure for at least a few months. Then work out a budget with a specific amount set aside each month for those extras.
2. Your credit cards are costing you
Many people are paying way too much to their credit card companies and don’t even know it. Look for a no annual fee card with a low interest rate. If you carry a balance, come up with a plan to whittle away at it each month. Once it’s gone, every purchase you make suddenly becomes cheaper.
3. No emergency fund
It’s essential that you have three to six months’ living expenses stashed away, perhaps in a high-yield savings account. (You can find the right high yield savings account for you at LendingTree. Have whatever you can afford – maybe $50 a month – directly deposited into your account each month, then forget about it. Let it earn interest until you have a true emergency.
4. No retirement fund
Saving for retirement is another common money problem. But this type of saving costs less than you think, especially if your employer offers a 401(k) plan through which you can invest money on a pre-tax basis. And, most employers offer some kind of a match to your contributions. Calculate all the money you are losing by not participating, and that alone should motivate you to set aside something each pay period for the long-term.
5. Don’t know how to invest
There are so many ways to educate yourself about basic investment strategies these days. Mainstream financial media – newspaper, magazines, websites and 24-hour-a-day television news channels – can be a good way to familiarize yourself with the markets. If you’re looking for someone who can give you personalized guidance, check out the Securities Exchange Commission’s advice here.
6. You can’t say no
Whether it’s sales pitches or charity pleas, many people have trouble turning down requests for money, even when they can’t afford it. The trick is to be ready with an answer before the question is even asked. Put off solicitors with a simple “Let me think about it.” This will at least buy you time to come up with a polite way to turn them down.
7. You and your spouse/partner disagree about money
Disagreements about money are practically inevitable when two people share a household. The important thing is how you handle them: set aside time to calmly discuss your finances every few months, and focus on facts, not emotions.