We're all guilty of it. Waiting until the last minute to complete a task the day before it's due or paying off your light bill two weeks after the due date.
You know in your mind that you should get things done right away, but there's some type of distraction that makes you feel like you have time and can get it done later.
Procrastination is the name of the game and the psychological hurdles that accompany it can make even the most productive person fall into this category from time to time. Even when it comes to your finances, procrastination can deter you from saving money and stay on top of your money habits that are key to having a clear understanding of your financial status.
Here are six hurdles or mental blocks that make you procrastinate with your finances and how you can hopefully overcome them. You can't sit around and wait for things to "fix" themselves. Make a deadline and commit time be proactive and get things done on time.
Your credit card balance is increasing each month, and you're worried about paying it off.
Don't panic, sit down and take the first step by contacting a credit counseling service for a free consultation on how to budget all of your finances, cash included. Within a few hours you can have several options spelled out for you to help put your debt behind you.
Another option is to seek a personal finance management tool such as Mint.com or Check.me to keep track of your spending and saving.
Many times families don't have time to prepare meals in advance, so eating out or overspending at the grocery store frequently occurs and it can be costly.
Families have about ten meals that they like to eat over and over again.
Designate a specific day, like Sunday, and make your family's meals in advance and store extra batches in the freezer for nightly dinners and even lunches to take to work. You may spend some time on Sunday cooking, but in the end, it'll save you a lot of time and money.
The most important part of this process is planning. Make a list and stock up on these ingredients or buy the items on sale. Purchasing generic products is also a great way to save money.
Waiting until the last minute to pay monthly bills can be costly. You will end up paying late fees and incur additional interest charges.
What you can do to counteract this is to set aside a couple of hours each month and tell yourself this will be the time you get organized with your bills and savings. Before you start, keep track of what you need to do, and write it down or put it into your smartphone so you're fully prepared before you start. Think of it as your quiet time, and get it done so you can get on with your day.
Automating certain bills each month can help you stay on top of payments.
Consider paying your bills online. Online sites such as Mint.com or Quicken Online allows you to view all of your online accounts at once, and they also offer information such as monthly alerts or due dates.
Filing Your Taxes
There are many reasons why you shouldn't wait until the last minute to file your taxes -- the main one being you would avoid penalties for filing late.
If you are a freelancer, consider paying your taxes on a quarterly basis to avoid having to pay a lump sum come tax season. Again, Google alerts are very helpful if you're forgetful.
Balance Your Checkbook
Keep track of your spending. Even if you don't use checks, it's a good idea to write down what you are spending, as you don't want any bank transactions to bounce.
Look at your accounts on a weekly basis and keep on top of how much available money is in the account. Also, set up mobile alerts with your bank to inform you when your account reaches below a certain amount.
If you're one of the millions of Americans who aren't saving enough, you're not alone. The process of setting money aside each month can be daunting, especially if money is tight or if you don't have regular paychecks coming in.
Instead of feeling defeated and telling yourself you'll save later, start small each month and set up an automated system to funnel money into saving accounts. Even if you can only put aside $50 a month, it's worthwhile to do. You can always adjust it, as you see fit.
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Kaia Zawadi is a professional freelance journalist/writer/editor. She regularly writes stories about banking and personal finance for MyBankTracker.com.