Please welcome Chenell here on Debt Roundup. She is guest posting here for today. She blogs over at BrightCents.com and is well-versed in the trials and tribulations of debt. Take it away Chenell!
Being in debt ultimately means you are not in control of your finances. You owe money to other people, and thus, are not able to decide where all of your money goes.
Each time a paycheck comes in, a portion of that money is automatically slated to go to your creditors – whether it be a car loan, credit card, mortgage, or student loan – it is not really your money.
The argument can be made that, technically, you are in control. But unless you want a terrible credit score and have your possessions taken away one by one, you have got to pay your bills.
While debt may be one of the more obvious ways we are letting other people control our money, there are plenty of other ways we are doing this.
Here are some other places you might be surrendering control without even realizing it.
Giving In To Good Marketing
You know how you were planning to keep your cell phone until the 63rd generation came out next year? Well, the 62nd generation just came out, and it looks friggin’ awesome!
It has all these new features that you just can’t live without…though you admit you didn’t even know they existed before today.
That’s beside the point! You want this cell phone…bad.
The next thing you know, you’ve spent $200 and signed another two-year contract (boo contracts!), as a proud owner of a heavily marketed, overpriced piece of metal.
Talk about walking into a marketer’s dream scenario. You just did exactly what they were hoping you would do.
Next time, try one of these pieces of advice.
Allowing Friends to Spend Your Money
Of course, I know you didn’t hand over full control of your bank accounts, but when you find yourself “getting inspiration” from what your friends are doing and buying, it’s pretty close to the same thing.
Watching a friend buy a new car on a whim can get the ideas started. They seem pretty financially stable, so why would it be so bad if you did the same? You’ve been wanting that car for months and yours is making a few funny noises. What’s the harm if you can afford the monthly payments?
The only problem is that most people are broke, many would probably even deny that they were. Yet, 80% of the population has some kind of debt. Do you want to follow that statistic too, or do you want to start changing directions and get yourself out of debt?
Not Paying Attention
By spending just a few minutes each week logging your spending, income and payments made, you can find all kinds of issues you would never think might arise.
Maybe the bank made a mistake, you were charged an erroneous fee, or you paid too much at the grocery store. If you weren’t keeping a close eye on your accounts, you’d never know.
Staying in the Same Place Year After Year
Did you know that you lose 50% of your earning potential just by staying with the same company for more than two years? That’s right. Your company is paying the new guy more money than you make for doing the exact same job. What the heck happened to loyalty?
If you are allowing your company to pay you less than you are worth, you are giving up control of your personal financial situation. If you had moved to another company doing the same job, you would be earning more, and be able to pay off your debts faster and gain back more control of your finances.
Not Asking For More
You know that your boss has seen how hard you’ve worked this year. When raise time comes around, this will definitely be the year you get that huge pay increase.
Except, it usually doesn’t work that way. If you don’t ask for a raise you typically won’t get anything more than the regular 1-2%.
So what’s the harm in putting yourself out there and asking for that raise? The worst your boss can say is “sorry, we don’t find you valuable enough to pay you more.” In which case, you may want to consider leaving anyway.
Allowing other people to dictate what you make each year without actively trying to increase that number means you are ultimately allowing them to make those decisions for you.
Wasting That Free Time
Instead of moping around the house during your free time, you might want to try adding another source of income into the mix. This could be anything from a second job, to an online business, to selling a few items here and there on Amazon. That hobby you have on the weekends could earn you enough to start working towards your goals.
There are plenty of things you can do in your spare time that will increase the amount of money you bring in. Talk about taking back some control of your financial situation!
Keeping A Close Eye
Being in control of your financial situation is a powerful way for you to more quickly reach those goals you’ve had in mind. If you owe other people money, or are earning only what some boss thinks you’re worth, you have a lot of room for improvement. Many people don’t even realize they’ve been giving someone else the authority to decide their future for them.
How else can you start having more of a say in your financial future?
Do You Know Your Credit Score?
Even if you don’t plan on getting a loan, a good credit score can affect your ability to get a job, a place to live, and will save you money whenever you need to borrow. If you don’t know your credit score, you can get yours free at Credit Sesame. It’s 100% free with no credit card required to signup. I’ve been using it for years to monitor my credit score.