Do any of these sound familiar?

  • You get the mail, and there’s a bill that you weren’t expecting in it.
  • You go out to eat with a group, and end up at a place that’s more expensive than you realized. You spend the entire meal wondering if you’ll have enough for your share, or hoping someone else will pick up the tab.
  • You finally clear off those papers on your desk, and realize that you forgot to pay a bill.
  • You stop at the ATM to see how much money you have, and take the bank’s word for it because you really don’t know.

If so, you may be living your life in a financial fog.

That happens when you don’t have a clear picture of what your financial life is like, when you don’t have a handle on what your actual income and expenses are, when things are due, etc.

The problem is, once you find yourself in a financial fog, it can be a little scary. You’re uncertain about what your situation actually is, and that makes you uncomfortable, but you’re probably also a little afraid to find out what things would look like with the fog cleared away. After all, what if things are even worse than you suspect?

Sometimes it feels like it’s better not to know, if you’re getting along “mostly” ok. Or it may feel like too much effort to find out. Who wants to balance their checking account? Playing on the computer or watching a TV show sounds much more interesting.

That’s a form of procrastinating.

The truth is, it takes very little time to stay on top of things financially once you bite the bullet and get it done for the first time. Just start.

It is so freeing to actually know what your financial situation is. Even if it’s bad, knowing what it actually is for sure can set you on the path to changing it. And surprisingly, you’ll probably still feel better, because you’ll be able to set goals and see progress toward them. And things are rarely as bad as you imagine.