Make just one change
“If you figure out one action you can take— balancing your checkbook, getting a loan, saving, investing—you can begin to work ‘money muscles’ you didn’t have,” says Olivia Mellan, a money coach and author of Overcoming Overspending (Money Harmony Books). If you’re a money avoider, start balancing your checkbook. If you’re a spender, start saving a part of your earnings every month. If you’re a money hoarder, pick one pleasure and practice a weekly indulgence. But don’t try to overhaul yourself all at once or you’ll feel overwhelmed.
“It’s key to have a partner in your financial life who can knock some sense into you when you feel the impulse to spend or ignore the bills,” says personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi, author of Psych Yourself Rich (FT Press). Let that person—a parent, a sibling, a friend— know your financial goals, and don’t be ashamed of asking for advice. “You’ll find out that your financial strife isn’t unique; others have been in your shoes,” says Torabi.