You've waited long enough and it's finally your time! When you've reached a point where ends are meeting and means are more than meager it can be very refreshing. Experiencing a long awaited financial breakthrough is an experience like no other. Tax season can often facilitate such a breakthrough for many individuals. When money is tight and every dollar is accounted for it can sometimes feel like money is spent before you even get it! However, the occasional influx of cash that can bring welcome relief to the constant struggle to stay in the black.
Sometimes this relief can come in the form of a long or short-term loan. Sometimes financial relief can come in the form of an unexpected check or payment. Income taxes and settlements can even be a welcome source of wiggle room for a tight wallet. Or, perhaps you just landed that new job you’ve been praying for and your new salary will give you just the boost your pocket book has needed. It’s always nice to have a little extra. When these waves of cash do come it is wise to be prepared to tackle your finances with a plan or strategy that will set you up for success and move you one step closer to financial freedom.
Have a Little Fun!
First things first. You've worked hard to keep debt collectors at bay. Sometimes, before making all the many responsible financial decisions you just need to give yourself a small budget for some good, clean, and well deserved fun! Planning, prioritizing, and budgeting will keep you from buying what you don’t need, and sometimes things you don’t even really want, because of impulsive decisions. However, if you’re feeling like you need and deserve a little break from the bondage of your tight budget, allow yourself to have a little fun!
Treat yourself to a small luxury as a reward for all your weeks, months, or even years of frugality and financial responsibility. You deserve a reward for doing the RIGHT thing. Give yourself a break and buy that bag you’ve had your eye on. Take that vacation you’ve wanted to get away to. Purchase that gift you’ve been wanting to give for so long. You’ll feel better once you’ve allowed yourself a small luxury and you will be less inclined to continue with reckless spending and splurging. Just remember, after the fun, to get back to the business of managing your money in a way that moves you closer to where you want to be financially.
Plan Before You Get Paid
To the best of your ability, it is a good idea to have a plan for your money before you actually receive it. Take the time to sit down and review your finances. Think about your financial goals and priorities. What would you “LIKE” to be able to do “IF” you had the money? Would you tackle unpaid debts? Would you take a much needed vacation? Would you donate to support a worthy cause or organization? Would you gift all or some to a friend, family member, or loved one?
Having an idea of what is important to you will help you to make the most of your money no matter how much of it you actually have. When you find yourself in the position to spend more money than you expected to have, you run less of a risk of making financial choices that you will regret if you plan in advance. This way, once the money arrives, you can spend with purpose and intention from the very first cent rather than trying to stretch what is left over, if any, after a spontaneous splurge or shopping binge.
Give it a Limit
We would all love to go out and spend limitlessly on whatever our hearts desire. The reality is, that is just plain irresponsible. When you are anticipating an influx of income, whether you have a set budget in place or not, decide on a limit for your spending. This is different than an actual budget. While a budget will designate spending limits for each category of your needs and wants, giving yourself a limit simply puts a cap on how much you will allow yourself to spend at once. This will prevent you from overspending as a result of any temporary lapse of good judgment, which could result in painful buyers remorse later. Decide on a dollar amount, be it $20, $50, or $500. You know what is acceptable and comfortable for you. You simply need to choose an amount that you can live with and not regret later.