Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Overcome A Bad Financial Habit - Procrastination

It takes work and having a plan if you want to have control of your money. Whether it is budgeting, saving, planning, investing or organizing; to get good results it takes an investment of time. But that's the tough part, finding the time to do it right. 

Many people fail in their financial goals because they just don't plan. They want to do it right but just keep putting it off. To some of us, like myself, seeing a monthly budget just doesn't thrill me. I know many people enjoy these types of things but actually doing it is no fun. I like to write about personal finance but I can find more fun things to do than balance my checkbook.

I admit it I am a procrastinator. So what do you do? Need some help? Here are a few tips:

Schedule financial tasks

Scheduling financial tasks and completing them in small chunks will help you feel a sense of accomplishment. For example, most consumers receive several types of financial mail, including bills, brokerage statements and bank reconciliations. Place all financial mail in a basket and set aside some time periodically to go through them at one time. You will develop a habit that will become part of your routine. This routine will eliminate procrastination. Also, try to save time by using online bill payment services or developing a system that works for you.

Create a savings strategy

You may believe that you do not have enough money to save, and therefore, you develop inertia. Also, retirement may seem like such a distant dream. However, saving a little now will help get you started, and over time you will see how the investment grows in value. Watching your money grow will motivate you to create additional savings.

Divide and conquer

If you have a spouse or significant other, work together at the same time and split the duties. People who make commitments and have a “buddy” in the task will not be as likely to delay. One person can pay the bills while the other files statements. At this time, you may also have the opportunity to talk and discuss financial matters which will reduce uncertainty and stress. After you have worked together, reward yourself for staying on task.

Remember late fees

In many instances, handling financial matters early can actually save considerable money — but it involves planning ahead. For example, try to pay January’s mortgage near the end of December to get the mortgage interest deduction on the current year tax return. Many people save on Christmas supplies, such as wrapping paper and ornaments, for next year by purchasing them immediately after Christmas. Also, irrigation companies will offer substantial discounts to install irrigation equipment during off-season times. Even some colleges give substantial discounts for getting tuition paid early.

Because many businesses want smooth cash flow, it makes sense for them to offer such discounts. Of course, it is very important to weigh the discount you will be getting with any interest or investment income you might have earned by retaining the money. While savings can be the reward for paying early, late fees, penalties and interest can be the penalty for not getting financial tasks done by the due date. It is especially important to pay credit card bills on time, as just a short delay can add considerable late fees to a bill.

Remember procrastination is a bad habit that can take some work to overcome. The trouble is it takes time to set up procedures to help you change old habits. But it is necessary to succeed with your money plans.

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