Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
4 minutes reading time (706 words)

Dealing With Financial Burdens

Many of us probably have monthly expenses that seem to drain our financial resources. You probably think of this particular expense (or these expenses) and dream about the way your life would be if you didn’t have this major outlay of cash every month. Oh, the things you could buy, the money you could save if you could just get rid of (name-your-financial-burden). It may be a mortgage, or debt payments, child care expenses, or a person. Figuring out how to deal with this particular financial burden will save you a lot of stress and if you can get out of it, you may be able to save a lot of money.

Why are you paying the money?

Chances are you’ve already know, quite intimately, the thing that’s costing so much money each month. You probably know, down to the penny, the exact amount that you’re spending on it each month. Or, you might take the opposite approach: to may turn a blind-eye to the specific cost to avoid being angry or sad about having to spend the money. If that’s the case, stop ignoring it and face it. It’s the best way to deal with what’s bothering you.

Stop for a few minutes to consider why you’re paying this money. It’s not as simple as “because you owe it” or “because my kid’s need me to” or “it’s a court order.” Financially irresponsible people ditch their responsibilities all the time without a second thought. But why have you decided that this particular expense is important enough to keep paying? There may be a few reasons: because you care, or because you want to protect your credit score, because you feel you have a moral obligation to fulfill your promises, because paying this expense actually makes life easier for you.

When you figure out the reason you’re paying for something you consider a burden, one of two things may happen. You may realize that paying this expense is necessary for the life you want to live and the goals you want to accomplish. It may not completely alleviate the pain of parting with the cash, but you may feel a little better about the money you’re spending. Or, something different could happen. You may realize that you’re paying for something you absolutely disagree with and cannot find a single positive reason in carrying this financial burden. In that case, you have some serious decisions to make (keep reading).

Can you get rid of this expense?

You’ve probably already given some thought to whether you can somehow get away from paying this particular expense. Take another look at it. Is there an alternative? What are the consequences of not paying?

If you can’t get rid of this particular expense right now, when can you get out of it? For example, you may be bogged down with childcare expenses, but fortunately those costs will drop dramatically once your children start kindergarten (assuming you choose public school). You may be paying child support to an ex-spouse, but these payments will end once the child turns 18 (or 21/25 depending on your court order). It may not be the answer you want, but at least you know there’s an end in sight.

Can you lower this expense?

You may not be able to get rid of the expense all together, but maybe you can lower it. If your monthly mortgage payment is too high, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate. Switching to a different repayment plan can often alleviate high student loan payments. Exhaust all your options before you decide that you’re stuck with the high payments.

Can you lower some other expenses?

When you can’t do anything about your high expense, you may be able to make it more affordable by lowering your other monthly expenses. You’ll free up some money in your budget and give yourself a little more financial flexibility. Track your spending for a few weeks to figure out where your money is going. You may find a place that you can cut back without too much pain. In the end, you may not get rid of the thing that’s burdening you, but you’ll accomplish the bigger goal of making your financial life much easier.
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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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