Financial issues carry an inherent stigma. People are often embarrassed when they can’t make their bills or afford something they need. The problem for most people who hit a crisis state with their finances is that they didn’t take action at the earliest stages of the problem.

Some people know that they have financial troubles and are afraid to really look at their spending so they don’t realize how bad it is. The only way to get ahead of your budget and begin to save is to face your finances honestly.

5 Signs Your Finances Are A Mess

  1. Late Payments. If you constantly pay bills late, it’s a good sign that your finances are out of control. It may be a case of laziness, though adding those extra fees to your monthly expenditures will still diminish your ability to increase your wealth. Often, chronic late payment is a glaring sign that your monthly bills exceed your income or that you’re overspending.
  2. No Set Savings Schedule. You should be paying yourself a set amount of your income from every check to go toward savings. If you have no savings schedule or only deposit money into savings when you happen upon an extra windfall, such as your tax refund, that’s a terrible sign that you’re living pay check to pay check.
  3. Can’t Pay More Than Minimum Credit Card Payment. Paying only the minimum payment on your credit cards will not pay down the balance. The best method to keep credit healthy is to only spend what you can afford and to pay the balance off every month.
  4. Overdraft Fees. There are a number of reasons you might get one overdraft fee, or even a few. Constantly over drafting, though, is a sign that you are not making enough to meet your obligations (it also costs a great deal of money).
  5. Regularly Tapping Retirement Funds or Home Equity. In tough times, it’s preferable to liquidate some of your retirement funds or take more out of your home to get back on track. But tapping these funds more than once is a good indication that you’re not meeting your financial responsibility and might need to downsize your spending.

If any of these signs look familiar, the best step is to sit down and honestly go through your income, expenditures and budget. A credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney can also help set you on the right track before your finances get completely out of control.