The questions below are asked with the intent of helping anyone who might find themselves feeling overwhelmed by their current financial situation. These questions will provide insights into the most common causes of financial failure. These are questions any one can ask themselves, loved one’s or friends.
1. What size budget do you have (small, medium or large)? Or, how much money do you have at the end of the month? Most people already know how much money they have. Nonetheless, it would be irresponsible for me to offer financial guidance without asking what size your budget is.
The good news is that even if your budget is small or medium you can prevent failing financially by asking yourself my next question.
2. Is your budget balanced? If you answered yes, that is great news. But too many people make the mistake of having an unbalanced budget and engaging in what I call “frantic finance”. This is when someone spends money without a plan then frantically looks for a miracle like hitting the lottery to save them. Frantic finance is the fast track to failure.
Balancing your budget on the other hand, is taking into account how much money you spent or will spend and having enough money to cover your purchases and expenses. If you have not balanced your budget the good news is you can start today.
3. Is your budget organized? Having all of your income and expense information arranged in an organized way will help you stay focused on your budget. Most people don’t bother to organize their budget.
If you don’t have your budget organized no worries. You can get started today shortly after you’ve answered my next few questions.
4. When is the last time you updated your budget? If you know the size of your budget and have it organized the next step may be to update your budget. You may find you’ve been making purchases that are not included in your budget. For example, say you signed up for a new product or service recently. If you have agreed to make any sort of payment commitment of more than one month, it’s a good idea to update your budget to reflect the change.
5. Are you willing to use self-control to get your budget under control? I’m sure you are able to discipline yourself to prevent financial failure. But again I have to ask these kinds of questions to help (or even remind) you that preventing financial failure requires self-control.
Self-control can be measured. Dr. Terrie Moffit a professor at Duke University revealed the findings of a 30 year study of 1,000 school aged children. What Dr. Moffit found was that people with self-control live better lives as adults. The same study found that people without self-control are more likely to be poor or have financial problems. If you are willing to use self-control to prevent financial failure feel free to go to the next question.
6. What opportunities do you have to save money? This question stops a lot of people in their tracks because it’s a question worth finding the answers to. You probably have a wealth of opportunities to save yourself more money. One of the best opportunities to save money is on food. The average person orders cooked food at least twice a week and some people eat out at least three times per week. The average price for a cooked meal is about seven dollars. Preparing your own food is a great opportunity (of many) to save money, and prevent financial failure.
7. Are you willing to make spending changes to save? Saving money and budgeting does not have to feel like you’re pinching yourself instead of pinching pennies. But a large amount of people engage in wasteful spending. Most times people can be saved from financial failure with simple but beneficial spending changes. If you are willing to answer “yes” to this question you have made the right decision.