There are many reasons why people don’t pay attention to their finances and aren’t responsible with money, including lack of know-how, inexperience, forgetfulness, and procrastination. I like to think that most people know the basics and I’m sure that procrastination, if you boil it down, is the main reason.
I remember when I was in high school, I gobbled up financial columns in newspapers and magazines, and devoured the material of financial websites with the hope of diminishing the need to worry about finances, and live a financially stable life.
In my first couple of years of college, I even made budgets, savings plans, and balance sheets. One thing I didn’t do, though, was put those things into effect. Thinking responsibly about money doesn’t necessarily translate into BEING responsible about money.
I found it a lot of fun to put it all on paper, and see how much I’d have if I saved X per month for X amount of years, or how much I’d earn if I worked this many hours. But I didn’t find it fun to implement these behaviours into my life.
As a result, I wallowed in ignorance with my finances for awhile, until I’d had enough of the “I don’t know” mentality and stepped it up.
No more excuses. I’m hoping that those of you who are reading this will do these things after reading the article, especially if these are the types of things you don’t do normally.
Order a Credit Report
No matter how financially secure you are, it’s good to know what is going on in your credit life. Who is looking into your credit? For what purpose? Do you have any dings on your credit report?
Sometimes, there can be errors on the report that a quick phone call can fix, but you’ll never know about the errors if you don’t order your credit report and check it from time to time.
The good news is that you can obtain a free credit report in North America once a year.
Try using TransUnion or Equifax.
Automate Your Bills
One of the most cited reasons for being late on paying a bill is forgetfulness. We have all done it; you mean to pay the bill, but it isn’t until the company is calling you to remind you that it’s past due before you actually transfer the money.
Automate your bills that remain relatively constant from month to month. Your cable, phone, internet, and insurance payments will likely be able to be automated, and any payments on debts or investments. You can even automate money to go into your emergency fund (if you need one).
This ensures that you won’t be dinged with a late charge, and it won’t hurt your credit because the bill will always be paid on time. Plus, you’ll be able to sit back and relax instead of pay bills.
Negotiate a Bill
If you are actually following along, you are on a roll. Why not negotiate a bill down, now? There are plenty of resources out there to ensure that you’ll be successful, but it all starts with a phone call to the retention line of the company.
Why spend more than you have to? Once you negotiate one bill, you’ll want to attack more of them.
A quick Google search will help you find some great tips and tricks about how to negotiate a bill.
Even the financially savvy forget to do these things sometimes. These are all responsible money behaviours. When was the last time you did any of these things?