BE THE BOSS OF YOUR MONEY AND OWN YOUR FUTURE
Talking money isn't always pleasant. In fact, many of us go all ostrich the minute that money, debt or interest gets mentioned. Heads in sand.
In fact one of the most cited and biggest causes of stress for individuals and relationships is money. Canstar, the financial rating firm estimated that New Zealanders put around $36b on credit cards last year. This equates to more than $4b in interest rates. This isn't even looking at house prices, rental market or additional debt that a individual or household may have. And still many of us would prefer to hide those dreaded monthly bills...
We don't need to feel stress about finances. It is possible to take back control over your money and own your future again. I will admit, the first steps may not be fun but it will be so so worth it. The truth is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to getting back on track - BUT - you can make your finances a source of happiness and not stress.
You may not think or feel that you are financially savvy. I know that I didn't. If I am being honest with myself though, that was just an excuse so that I could ignore what was going on and hit another Karen Walker sale (you will see the first step is honesty!). If I can turn things around and start making better decisions for myself then anyone can.
THE FIVE STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM
There are five essential things that you need to know when it comes to becoming the boss of your future (it doesn't matter how amazing you are looking if there are moths in your wallet).
#1 TRACK IT
Ok. This one may hurt a little and it probably won't be comfortable. You are going to track your spending. So, pick your space. Remove all distractions and schedule in some serious time to dedicate to this. I booked out half of a Saturday to do this. These are the steps that I followed and would recommend.
- Create a spread sheet and it doesn't have to be anything fancy.
- Go through your bank account(s) including your credit card. Line by line start to record your spending. I went through 3 months to average it out.
- Group your spending: Eating out. Groceries. Entertainment. Clothes. Education. Fitness. Mortgage/Rent. Car. Beauty. You get the picture.
- Now. Looking at your income it's time to work out what the difference is. It may hurt but you are half way there, don't stop now!
- Ok. Regardless of what it comes out at - you know what you are spending. Next step is to work out your ROCKS. What is the money that you have to spend e.g. mortgage/rent and pop these into a column. What can you cut out or off. Be ruthless. If you have small payments/subscriptions that seemed like nothing but together they have all added up (apps - you know what I am talking about, I'm talking to you!) then it's time to kill them. Next, look at things that you can live without. DO you need all the tv subscriptions?
- Look at the money that you have saved! Now budget. You have your income. Your must spend and add in realistic spending - but please be ruthless at this point. You need to be honest with yourself and if you want to get out of debt then you may have to live without luxury for a little while. There are some amazing free budget calculators if the spreadsheet is killing you.
- Your left over money should now go on your debt. You can go a step further and work out how long it will take to pay it off and then mark off on a calendar. I recommend doing this because it will feel amazing.
#2 PRIORITISE $$$
Refusing to open up those credit card statements or ignoring bank / email alerts telling you that something is very red will not make it go away. Agree with yourself that you will make your money your priority and schedule monthly check ups. Use this time to go back and check your spending and pay bills. Do not miss these check ups. They will help you stay on track.
#3 KEEP COSTS LOW
Are you paying the best prices? With any of your non-negotiables make sure you have shopped around and done your homework. Keep asking yourself, do you NEED to buy this, sign up for this, subscribe to this. Will it make your life better and do you need it. Need and love are two very different things. So keep checking what deals are out there and make sure you are paying the best rates.
#4 CREATE GOALS
Now that you know where you are at and you have carved out time to stay on top of things, it's time to get your money working for you and get excited about what the future can hold.
Start to create goals that you want to work towards. Is it a holiday? Gucci heels? New TV? A course you have been dying to do? Whatever it is then plan for it. It can be a big goal - like starting a business or something smaller. If you want to create goals with your partner then have a chat about what is important to you as a couple and as individuals. It doesn't matter but the planning does. Work out the cost of your fancy new goal and what you can put aside to get that goal. Some banks have a Save the Change function, others will help you with your goals. Regardless, each pay put that money aside and see it add up.
NOTE: If you are paying of debt then be honest with how much you can put aside, don't go into more debt. If it means sacrificing a coffee a day or brunch then work out your priorities. Also, pay yourself first. Don't rely on the old, I'll wait till the end of my pay and see what's left over.
#5 DON'T COMPARE
Don't get stressed about what other people have and don't try to keep up with other people. Figure out what is really important to you and work towards that. Don't get side tracked by social media, what your friends or family may have. You are getting yourself back on track and you are working towards your goals. Don't sabotage yourself before you even get started. Use this time to work out what is important to you financially, you may find it doesn't include what your neighbours have.
It's time to own your future and be your own damn #moneyboss!