It’s inevitable that we all will face financial setbacks, no matter how disciplined we are with our money. Your car may need repair tomorrow, or a leak may occur in your roof, or that cop didn’t feel very forgiving after handing you a speeding ticket. Sometimes, life just happens and we have to fork over our hard-earned money, even if we spent a great deal of effort and patience to watch that money grow in savings. Frankly, it’s easy to feel defeated when we are surprised with a hefty bill, but thankfully, we don’t have to be. No matter how bad of a financial hit you may take, you are still in control of your finances and you can still reach your financial goals.
There are four necessary steps that we all must take after experiencing a financial setback. These four steps are meant to help you get back on track with your financial goals in a healthy manner.
1. Accept That it Happened
You spent the last three months working extra hours at your job while spending less than what you normally would on food and fun, but then suddenly your car decides to quit on you and you have to get it towed to a mechanic shop. When all is said and done, you spent close to $500. Most likely you would be livid in that moment as you hesitantly hand over the money you were billed, feeling like the hard work you put into your savings was a waste of time. It’s okay to be angry in those moments, because it shows that you care and worked hard for that money. However, it’s not okay to stay angry and to dwell on how saving that money wasn’t worth the effort. Dwelling on your frustration never moves you forward in any situation, especially your finances. So take the time to let out your emotions and talk it over with a friend or your spouse, then accept that it happened and move on from the disappointment.
2. Be Grateful
Although it may have sucked when you kissed that $500 goodbye as you drove away from the mechanic shop, the reality is that you had $500 to give and you are now driving home in a functioning vehicle. Sometimes, it seems like such a waste of effort when we worked so long to watch our savings grow, only to see it vanish when a setback occurs. But the truth is that all of your effort in saving that money is precisely for these moments. Imagine if you didn’t make the effort before your car broke down… then you really would be upset because you wouldn’t have the extra funds to fix your car. When a financial setback occurs, it is an opportunity to be grateful that you made the effort to be smart with your money and that God provided you the resources to pay the bill without the stress of being unable to afford it.
3. Make a Plan
Now that you paid your bill, it’s easy to begin feeling tired of talking finances, but this is the most crucial time to hunker down and begin studying how you’re going to continue with your financial plan. In my personal experience, anytime I was billed a large amount of money, it was easy for me to avoid any talk about money because it would make me feel tired or angry, but my passiveness would only prove to negatively affect my spending habits, because I failed to get back on track after a setback. It’s easy to feel the comfort in ignorant bliss of your finances if you avoid it altogether, so take a moment to remind yourself that, although setbacks will occur, saving your money is worth the effort.
4. Encourage Each Other
A financial setback can leave you feeling defeated, so don’t go it alone. Sit with your spouse and remind each other of your goals. Share with a friend how it’s tough sometimes to be wise with money, and share accountability with each other. Saving money is no easy task, and is easier when the effort is shared. The next time a financial setback occurs – and it will – you are not alone. Go about it wisely and remember your blessings.