Queen of Your Finances: Money Management 101
“The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means.” – Sir Henry Taylor
Managing your money is a big task, and if you’ve been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, chances are that it might feel pretty overwhelming – especially when you’ve dealt with financial abuse.
What is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse is tactic used by a narcissist in which they use money to control and or manipulate you. This might mean the narcissist is restricting you from accessing family money, or it could mean they’re forcing you to provide all of the money by refusing to work.
Some narcissists are extravagant and excessive in their spending, even when they can’t afford it. They’ll ruin your credit without a second thought. Others seem to be overly frugal and might even prevent you from purchasing basic necessities, such as clothing, food, and hygiene products for yourself and your kids. And there are those who deny their family any luxuries and even some necessities, while they might have everything they want and more. In some cases, financial abuse might look like the narcissist spending all of the money they make and requiring you to support the family on your own.
Alternatively, the narcissist might cause you to be unable to work for a number of reasons. Financial abuse might also involve blatant lying about, theft of, and/or hiding of family money, among other forms of manipulation and control.
How do you manage your money after financial abuse?
Whether we like it or not, if you want to get by in this world, managing your money something you have to do. It can be too painful for some narcissistic abuse survivors, so some of us tend to avoid it altogether. But for those of us who want to fully reclaim our lives, the reward far outweighs the trouble and is well worth it.
The good news? Once you get your arms around it, you should only need to spend a few minutes managing your money each week. Even better: it’s as easy as controlling the money you’ve already got.
How to Take Control of Your Finances
Here’s what you need to make sure that you have control over your financial situation. Here are some valuable budgeting techniques to guide you in your expenses and income.
Pay Your Utilities on Time
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you pay for your utilities on time and in full every month. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pay them.
Rebuilding Credit with Credit Cards
The second thing you need to do consider the number of credit cards you have. Most credit repair agencies suggest that you have a mix of at least six credit accounts. Be careful to avoid excessive interest, and do your best to avoid using credit to pay for things you can’t afford. Ideally, make small purchases that you can quickly pay off. This will raise your credit score pretty quickly. You can also consider starting with a secured credit card if your credit has been ruined.
Consolidation Loans Might Help
The third thing you should do if your bills have gotten the best of you is to consolidate them into a single loan. This will enable you to pay them off over time without getting slammed with high-interest rates.
Just be careful that you’re dealing with a legitimate loan agency if you go this route. Google the company and read consumer reviews. Remember that knowledge is always power, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read your loan paperwork carefully before signing. Don’t let desperation cause you to jump before understanding what you’re getting yourself into.
Establish a Working Budget for Yourself
Finally, establish a budget for yourself. This seems difficult and that’s why most people don’t do it. And because people don’t have a budget they find themselves in financial straits.
The easiest way to establish a budget is to take a draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left, write down your after-tax household income. Be sure to write down the after-tax amount as you want to measure available income only. After all, you don’t get to spend the before-tax amount, right?
In the right column, list an average of each monthly bill. But you should also include your typical spending habits as well, like eating out, or impulse shopping. Don’t forget to include paying off your credit card as part of the bills!
Now that you have a list of income and expenses, see if there’s a way to increase your income, or reduce your expenses. Usually, you’ll find a way to do a little to both.
While it seems so simplistic, so few people do it. And yet, creating a budget and sticking to it often separates successful people from everyone else. What’s stopping you from doing it right now?
What do you think? Share your feelings, ideas, and thoughts in the comments section, below.
Related Resources on Financial Abuse in Toxic Relationships
- When Narcissists Control You With Money: Financial Abuse in Toxic Relationships
- Financial Abuse Test: Find Out if You Are the Victim of Financial Abuse
- Fix Your Finances: Ideas for Rebuilding Credit