Over the last few weeks I’ve caught myself reverting back to some old bad habits. I have had a lot of things on my mind, and one of them hasn’t been money. While some may argue this is a good thing (after all, many of us become obsessive over money), it is rarely a good idea to just totally “zone out” when it comes to your finances.
One thing I’ve noticed about this bad habit of mine is that the longer my avoidance of anything to do with my personal finances goes on, the harder it is to get caught up. And I don’t mean because I have dozens of transactions to record in a ledger, I mean because I am almost afraid to look!
The difference in the old me and the new me is that I can now recognize this condition creeping in and can carve out adequate time to make things right; to get caught up on balances, payments, etc. I’ve dubbed this condition Budget Avoidance Syndrome, or B.A.S. and have included some symptoms below to help you identify it should you become afflicted
Symptoms of Budget Avoidance Syndrome
- Your last checking account ledger entry is three weeks old
- You aren’t quite sure when your next debt payment is due (you have an idea, but the exact date escapes you)
- You feel a combination of anxiety and apathy towards your finances
The side effects of continuing to ignore B.A.S. can be quite painful, ranging from overdraft and late fees to non-sufficent funds fees and missed credit card payments, which usually result in a higher interest rate charged to your remaining balance.
Home Remedies for Budget Avoidance Syndrome
Unfortunately, the only known cure for B.A.S. is to simply fight through your anxieties dive headfirst into your finances. Try to set aside some time in the next 24 hours to completely immerse yourself in your financial picture. Gather up paper statements, online passwords, etc. and update all outstanding balances on deposit accounts and any outstanding debts. Then begin to look ahead to determine which bills are coming due soon, and make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover them.
Sometimes life just gets in the way of managing our money, and when we recognize that happening it is unwise to simply continue to ignore finances. If you feel yourself heading down the same slippery slope I was, I encourage you to make the time today to get caught up. Turn off the television tonight a couple hours earlier than usual. Ask to leave work a couple hours early if your boss allows. If you are married, involve your spouse in the process so you are both on the same page. As painful as it might be, trust me, you will feel better knowing where you stand.