Stay on Top of Your Finances…

Friday, March 20, 2009
By: Joanne Brayden

Reprinted from FMOnline
… even when you’re lost in fibrofog! Follow these tips.

Take care of the basics first. Establish a checking account and use the bank’s electronic transfer program to deposit any regular checks you receive and to pay any regular bills. Most banks offer programs that can be managed either by computer or by phone, and will be happy to help you set one up. This is the easiest way to have someone else do most bill-paying for you—and still feel that you are in control of the process.

Use your bank statement. It really is important to review your statement each month to look for errors. You don’t have to do the math—just check individual items. If they are okay, the math is probably okay.

Don’t use your banking cards to let you know if there is money in the bank. Most institutions will allow you to overdraw and charge pretty stiff fees for the convenience.

When handling money, do one thing at a time. It is too easy for distractions to derail us. Before you know it, you have put the wrong check in the envelope—or no check at all. Pay each bill individually from start to finish, including sealing the envelope and stamping it. Then go on to the next one.

Set aside some money for yourself. It helps to keep “fun” money separate from the money that you use to pay for necessities. It helps even more if you put it in a separate account or in a personal piggy bank.

Use cash, if possible, for personal spending. Counting cash reminds you what you are spending and allows you time to make a decision. It also helps keep those math skills active.

Keep your cash in order. It’s too easy to stuff small bills and change into a pocket or purse without organizing it first. Take the time to put your currency in order. If you make it a habit, it will be easy for you to always know how much money you have available—and you will misplace a lot less.

Don’t keep coins in your pocket or purse. In the first place, they are heavy. In the second, dumping loose change into a container creates an emergency fund that can come in really handy. It’s surprising how quickly change adds up.

If you can’t figure out how to pay for it, don’t buy it. If you are having difficulty making decisions and can’t count the money to pay for something, chances are you are making a buying decision you will regret later. You can always buy the item later, after the fibrofog has cleared.

Ask for help if you need it. Even in a checkout line, just say you are having difficulties hearing or understanding. If you want an excuse, a bad headache is something everyone relates to. People can be amazingly helpful if you give them the chance.

This article was reprinted from Fibromyalgia AWARE, volume 15.