This time of year a lot of people are looking at their credit card statements and their bank balance, and wishing, “Oh if only I did a better job of managing my money!” And by “a lot of people” we mean just about everybody under the age of 50. We’ve all been there. Some have even solved the problem, and in the spirit of helping everybody manage their money better, Peoples Bank will post some tips and links in a new series called “Money Tips”. None of it will be “new light”. But perhaps it will come at the right time for you and your family. We promise to have most of the big concepts posted before you start spending money again in the last few months of the year.

Remember the pain

Pain is one of those things that is usually temporary; the effect can last, but the feeling of pain fades quickly. In any other case that would be a good thing. But remembering the pain due to poor money management (emotional and otherwise) will help you avoid money management problems in the future. And help you get ahead of the current ones.

For example, if you get a threatening call from the Landlord because you’re late paying the rent, recall that you have that problem because perhaps you didn’t think to:

  • brew your own coffee rather than pay $4 for all those “special brews” at the cafe,
  • say no to that “upgrade offer” of $200/month TV service for 100 channels of nothing worth watching,
  • spend $40 on jeans at Walmart instead of the $100 slacks from the mall that require dry-cleaning,
  • learn how to cook decent meals and pack a lunch rather than spend several hundred dollars at restaurants this month, and/or
  • split the check.

When you think about it, you can beat every one of those pain-points, today. Starting now.

Very often people spend money on temporary things, such as meals, fashion and entertainment that just do not last long enough to be worth it. A car payment is one thing, the same amount of money spent on eating out and going to movies and concerts is quite another. Especially if you can’t afford a car because of all that money that’s just a mist of a memory now. Do you agree?

If you don’t have a lot of money, it is far better to carefully – thoughtfully – spend it on things that will serve you long-term. Spending money on things that add real, lasting value is a big part of sound financial health.

So, here’s the practical tip: Reflect on all the things you spent money on over the last several months that you don’t have the use of right now. Does it hurt to think about? Good. Channel that feeling of pain and don’t let it happen again, this month or the month after. You’ll feel better then. You may even be able to pay the credit card amount due plus some and have money left over, which is one of most pain-free things anybody can do.

We hope this helps to stir up what may be a missing resolve to be good at managing your money. Stay tuned to this blog for more money tips from the bank that loves you best, Peoples Bank. And if you want to get more information faster, from a money expert, check out The Rules of Money by Richard Templar.