Tough financial times. Many of us have been there at some point. Whether your finances are strained due to hefty student loan payments, a recent job loss, unexpected medical bills, or any other hardship, you probably feel like you’re just barely getting by. Your negative net worth feels like a heavy weight that’s dragging you down.
When we made the permanent move to the states a few years ago, we were in a tough financial position. Since my husband wasn’t a US citizen at the time, he had no credit history established in the states. In order to achieve our financial goals of buying a car and a home, we needed to build both our savings and his credit as quickly as possible.
We had saved and prepared for such a big move, but it still wasn’t enough to allow us to be comfortable for very long. Our net worth was slightly depressing at that time. We knew that we’d need to work hard and be diligent to improve our finances fast and get where we wanted to be.
When you’re focused on trying to improve your financial situation, it can be so hard to keep a positive attitude. There will be times where it feels like a struggle to get ahead and make real progress.
That’s okay. Take a deep breath.
The good news is that real effort and a positive attitude will go a long way in helping you to better your financial situation. I know, because our family is living proof! Here’s how to keep a positive attitude with a negative net worth:
Review Your Budget
First, you need to have a budget. Keeping tabs on your income and spending is so important when you’re trying to improve your finances. Take time out each week to look over your budget.
If you’re in a relationship, you should absolutely be looking over your budget together. Being open and honest is essential to staying focused on your short and long-term goals.
Even if you feel bummed out at seeing a negative number under “Net Worth”, use it as motivation to keep moving forward! You can’t get ahead in a day, but all of your actions combined will eventually lead you into the green.
Check in with your budget, make sure that bills are paid on time, and track your spending to see where you can make cuts and changes.
Review Your Goals Often
Remind yourself of the goals that you’ve set. Couples should sit down and go over financial goals together every so often.
Now, think about the effort that you’ve been putting forth in order to accomplish those goals. Be honest– have you been working as hard and as smart as you can?
If the answer is yes, then keep forging ahead, knowing that you’re doing what it takes to make things happen. If the answer is “sort of, kind of, or not really”, then make a change! Don’t be afraid to try something different.
Set up smaller, actionable goals that will boost your motivation.
Do something every day to help better your situation- here are some easy ideas:
- Find a side-hustle
- Search for things to sell on eBay or Craigslist
- Plan a garage sale
- Shop with coupons
When you have someone to help keep you accountable and brainstorm ideas with, it’s easier to be honest with yourself and make the necessary moves. Enlist the help of a friend or relative to give you encouragement and to share ideas with.
Take it One Step at a Time
You know that saying- “Rome wasn’t built in a day”?
Well, a healthy net worth isn’t built up in a day either. Heck, it may take years to have your net worth where you want it to be. But, you will get there! Just take it one step at a time.
Celebrate small wins along with big ones. Paid extra on your debt this month? Awesome! Give yourself a high-five, or have a toast at dinner. Found a side-hustle that you enjoy? Great! Let the important people in your life know so that they can support you.
Your financial life is a work in progress
As long as you keep working at it and maintain a positive attitude, your net worth will improve, slowly but surely. There might be times where the progress isn’t apparent, but if you stay focused, you’re eventually going to get where you want to be.
What advice do you have for someone with a negative net worth? How do you stay positive during tough financial times?