Feel Like You’re Choking Financially? Here are 3 EASY Cash Flow Fixes Everyone Should Do

I’ve written before about that choking feeling you may get when you think about your finances. Many times that feeling comes from a cash flow problem commonly known as, “living check to check.” There are a few easy things you can do to ease a cash flow problem.

Cash flow is about timing and organization. When you have money coming in and when you don’t. People who make $30k or $300k per year can have a cash flow problem if they don’t plan well. Usually, people have cash flow issues if one or both partners are not salaried employees, or, of course, you are chronically spending more than you earn.

Here are the top 3 financial tips I give people with cash flow issues:

  1. Get your {insert expletive here} reimbursements in on time! Your health insurance forms, your work expenses or whatever. Why are you lending money to insurance companies or your employer? That’s what you do when you let them take more than 30 days to pay you back. Have one day each month (maybe your admin day) and do ALL your reimbursements. No excuses.
  2. Use a credit card for all purchases IF YOU ARE IN CONTROL AND NOT AT RISK FOR OVERSPENDING. If you charge gas, food, house items, clothes, etc., you get one itemized bill you can pay off completely on one day each month instead of needing cash almost every day of the month. You can plan for the day you have to pay it, and make sure there’s enough money. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU FEEL YOU MAY SPEND MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY OFF AT THE END OF THE MONTH.
  3. Be consistent with your expenses. Put as many things as possible on auto-pay and do not wait necessarily until the last day they are due. Pay them when it is convenient to your cash flow. Also, buy gas, groceries, yoga class passes and other predictable expenses on the same day each week or month so you know when you have cash for them.

I like to give clients an actual calendar. Yes, a piece of paper with a one month calendar on it. Sounds archaic, but the visual helps a lot of people. You will be able to see when you have the cash to buy yoga class passes, or wash the car or whatever. Look at it! Soon you’ll know it by heart. Write down when you’re paid and when bills are due.

Have one or two admin days every month (same days, please). You will have to sit down and pay your bills all together. That mere act will allow you to focus on your finances and know your bank account better. You will not feel like you’re paying a bill every other day and running on a treadmill. Do not dismiss this because it is psychological. After all, that choking feeling is psychological, also.

If you (or your spouse) do not receive a regular salary, make sure you (or your spouse) “pay” yourself from your business account (you have a separate business account, right?) on the same day (or two days) each month. Acting like you have a salary even though you’re just transferring money from your business account to your home account goes a long way to calming cash flow anxieties because it is predictable. Ahh…. Planning and consistency…. Omm….