3 Things You Would Never Expect to Affect Your Finances

When it comes to finances, people rarely like being caught by surprise. That’s why many of us work so hard to discover what things can have an impact on our financial well-being. Knowing how your credit utilization, savings habits, and other factors have an effect on your finances can help you maintain stability and peace of mind.

However, while a solid understanding of personal finance topics can be helpful, it won’t shield you completely. There are numerous things out there that can affect your finances in a bad way, some you’d probably never even expect! So, with that in mind, I’m going to share with you three unexpected things that can have an impact on your finances.

1. Your Sleep Schedule

You might not be aware of it, but the amount of sleep you get can have a massive impact on your financial wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can have numerous negative effects on the body, including impaired brain activity, memory problems, moodiness, and even a weakened immune system. A lack of mental awareness can lead to poor financial decision making (knee-jerk investment decisions, erratic and frivolous spending, etc) costing you countless extra dollars a month. Additionally, a compromised immune system will increase the chances that you’ll come down with a cold, or worse. The added medical expense and days missed from work could put a significant strain on your wallet. 

If you’re looking for a ways to help you get more sleep, consider setting a bedtime in stone. When it comes to sleep, consistency is key, and giving yourself a specific time to hit the hay at night could be just what you need to ensure you get enough rest. Another thing to consider is avoiding backlit devices (iPads, phones, etc) when trying to fall asleep. Light can suppress melatonin production, making it harder for you to fall asleep on time. 

2. Gyms, Libraries, and Your Cell Phone

We all expect to see credit cards, student loans, and mortgages on our credit reports, but did you know things like overdue library books, unpaid cell phone bills, and missed gym fees can wind up on there as well? Recently, more and more businesses are reporting unpaid debts to credit bureaus, resulting in some surprising red marks on people’s credit reports. These once innocuous oversights can now have a major impact on our credit scores and, consequently, our financial health. 

If you’re worried about the impact these, or any other factors might have on your credit report, you may want to take the time to review it. Sites like Annual Credit Report, Credit Karma, and Experian can provide you with a copy of your credit report for little to no cost. Taking the time to look over your report can help you identify problem areas with regards to your credit and devise plans to solve them.

3. An Unexpected Windfall

While an unexpected windfall might be exciting, “free” money isn’t always 100% free. Whether it be through gambling or inheritance, checks in these situations are typically accompanied by a tax form. Unfortunately, some people tend to forget about this little slip of paper and spend a large chunk of their money before fully understanding what they could owe. This could wind up being a huge issue when tax time comes around. In some cases, folks who have made really poor decisions with their windfall found themselves owing even more money than they initially received. 

Tax laws, especially those surrounding inheritance and gambling earnings, can be a bit complicated. While there are plenty of online resources available to help you make sense of it all, you might want to consider consulting with a tax professional. They should not only be able to provide you with information in terms of how much you might owe, but they might also be able to help you find the best way to minimize the tax burden. Doing your research and exercising a little self-control right after receiving your windfall could help you avoid a massive financial headache. 

While financial surprises can be a hassle to deal with, they should be relatively easy to handle providing you already have a strong financial base. Taking the time to learn personal finance basics, building an emergency fund, and minimizing financial stressors (such as debt) can help make tackling the unexpected much easier. Have your finances ever been affected in a surprising way? Let us know in the comments below! 

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