How To Develop Better Money Habits
Reducing Financial Stress
Does this all sound familiar? You are not alone, my friend.
When being low of funds becomes a way of life for you, you may not realise that you are actually stressed from this. Our body has a way of coping with this stress, sometimes making it seem “normal” and it can then go unnoticed. We just battle on.
Being stressed out affects every aspect of your life. Your health suffers – you may have sleepless nights, you may have a hard time concentrating on tasks at work or at home. Your focus is on what is missing and not what you have when you have financial stress hanging over your head all the time. It can impact on your relationships, with family, friends, work colleagues and loved ones.
Reducing the worry sounds like great advice, but how can you develop better money habits when you have a tonne of bills and a trickle of dollars. Feeling financially secure can help you relax and focus more on enjoying your life, doing the things you want, rather than stressing over possible devastating scenarios.
Why not try these 6 things to see if they will relieve your financial stress, so you can function better every day.
1. Improve Your Wealth Understanding
If you are like me, perhaps you weren’t taught how to manage money very well. It was something that you worked hard to acquire, and then you spent it on bills and if you were lucky enough to have any left over you got to have some fun. No one taught you good money habits, or the importance of no financial stress.
Alternatively, perhaps you had fun first and then robbed Peter to pay Paul to stay on top of your bills, working out resourceful ways of dodging or extending payments.
Financial awareness and wealth strategies were not topics that were discussed around our dinner table. We put a lot of faith and trust in those who we thought knew what they were doing. Only much later to discover that perhaps they weren’t doing so well themselves.
If this resonates with you, don’t despair.. there are ways you can improve your financial awareness and understanding of wealth.
“The Barefoot Investor” is a book that springs to mind when thinking of wealth strategies, but if you don’t think you are up to investing just yet, why not start with something simpler like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kioysaki. He has many more books like “The Cash Flow Quadrant” and “Increase Your Financial IQ” that you will find useful also.
Here’s the audio version of Rich Dad Poor Dad, to get you started. It’s 3 hours long, but you can speed it up if you wish. Great listening and take plenty of notes!
There are may ways you can expand your wealth understanding, – read the “Business Insider” and “Financial Review” – of course, it may not make much sense in the beginning, but hang in there and learn. Look up what you don’t know.
Another suggestion, spend time in your local library researching wealth and money strategies, economics and such. It’s really up to you how in depth you go.
2. Change Your Money Mindset Blueprint
Did you know that you have a money mindset blueprint installed in your brain from your early days.
Think back to what you heard as a child about money “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know” “You have to work hard to earn a living” “only the rich get it easy”. You get the gist and I’m sure you can think of many more. “A penny saved is a penny earned”. They are there everywhere influencing all your beliefs about where money comes from, what kind of people have money and how you make or earn money.
If you discover that your money blueprint is a little tight, then perhaps your finances may be tight. In fact it is said that your relationship with money can provide a lot of insight into how you feel about yourself.
Listen to how you talk about money, wealth and success and see if you may be holding yourself back from making extra income.
A HOT TIP – Place a love heart with the words “I love how money flows easily and abundantly to me” – and then look at it every day, retrain your brain to believe that money flows easily and begin to see how you often you ‘save money, or create extra money in some way. It’s all about perspective.
3. Become Aware of Your Spending Triggers
Have you ever thought about implementing a “spending freeze” instead of having spending frenzies?
What do you spend your money on? Is it all for bills, do you save some, or do you use your money as a way to make yourself feel a little better about your situation? You know, you may purchase something nice for the house – new cushions, a nik-nak or maybe even something new for your wardrobe. Is there a specific reason for spending the money – and if you don’t find a reason, does it then become a necessity? If it’s not a necessity – then perhaps you need to look at what caused you to rush out and purchase things or spend money.
What is it that you find yourself spending money on to make life easier or a little brighter for you and is it something that is truly a necessity. Could you cut back a little or change this habit altogether, so you have more money?
When you are feeling stressed about your finances, do you go and spend money to make you feel better? Then feel worse? Know what triggers you to spend and keep an eye on these things, so you can better manage your funds.
If you aren’t on top of your budget and spending, it’s easy to not notice where it all goes. Those coffees with friends, or road trips to visit family, or outings can soon dip into your savings and income.
Are you putting it all toward your bills and not spending any on yourself? That can be an issue also.
Once you know where you spend your money, and how often you are possibly wasting it, then you can begin to save more, or make more conscious choices and decisions about what you are doing.
I had a friend help me create a budget and up until then I didn’t realise how much I spent on coffee and red wine. I had to implement a spending freeze on those items and did I save money. You know a $5 coffee once or twice a day over 5 days adds up! Then over a month you have saved yourself a snappy $100 or $200.
Are you investing any of your money into things that could be creating an income, or extra income for you?
5. Make the Most of Your Income
Now, you may be thinking that you are trying to do just that – make the most of your income, by watching your money, getting value for money or buying frugally. That’s not what Im referring to here, when I say make the most of your money.
What I mean is – keep an eye out for those extra charges that seem to creep in, that can cost you more than you need to pay. You know the ones, the little sneaky fees that occur on your bank statement that you aren’t even aware of. An overdue account that charges extra interest.
Look at every expense – is there some way you may be able to cut back? Can you share your expenses? I have friends who go to the markets and purchase in bulk and then halve what they bought. Can you grow your own vegetables? Get creative and learn how to make the most of your income.
We tend to spend our money on what matters the most to us, so prioritise your spending. Do you really need more? (I love learning, so Im always buying books, e-books, audio books, attending events) Once you see where you spend it, it’s easy to make the most of it.
You’ll be surprised how many ways you can do this, especially if you have time on your hands, but that’s a post for another day also.
QUICK TIP – When purchasing spontaneously… you pick up something you like, Instead of carrying it around the store collecting more unneeded items on your spending spree, put it down, leave it there and if you remember it when you go to leave the store – you must have wanted it, or you can rethink if you really wanted it. If you walk out without it, you’ve saved money.
Create a Budget (and stick to it!)
Yes, I know, a budget seems like its going to limit your fun and cramp your style. However it’s a great way to begin to keep a track of where your money goes and what you are spending on.
My first experience of a budget, was when a friend of mine who was an Accountant sat with me and we went over my expenditure. Oh, boy, confronting and embarrassing to be so up front and honest about my spending habits. Her advice to me was to cut back spending on red wine!! Of all the things I spent money on, that was her best advice. Of course, she was not wrong, it was just a little difficult to process at the time.
The first tip of creating a budget, is to pay yourself first, which seems counter intuitive at first, and rather difficult to do in the beginning. I used to pay all my bills then if there was any left, spend that. The idea of paying yourself first is so that you have savings, and spendings and it stops you from dipping into money set aside for other expenses.
A friend recently had to save a deposit on a house, she set about looking at what she could cut back on and discovered many areas she could eliminate spending on. They are there, it’s just a matter of whether you are committed to them.
The flip side is, what if I spend more than I earn – how do I work that. Well, we’ll talk about that in another post shortly.
When we are consumed by our financial stress and worrying about our security, it can become all encompassing. We have a tendency to shut down to what is going on around us in an attempt to minimise distractions and spend less so we do not see things we may want but can’t actually afford. It’s a safety measure.
However, closing down and shutting out distractions also closes the door on opportunities that may appear to help you create extra income, or save money.
This all comes back to understanding your money blueprint, and your spending triggers. Once you know why you spend, you can become aware of what you spend on, and then make conscious choices on what you buy. If it’s an investment – aka something that will bring more money to you, do it.. if it’s an expense – aka something that is not going to return anything except good vibes, sometimes that’s not worth spending on. Especially if you have a tonne of that already.
Asking for help can be one of the most difficult things to do. After all, we are adults and we do know what we are doing. Yet, sometimes getting a different perspective and some advice can be lifesaving.
There are many classes on basic money management that can help you plan out a budget and the things you need to do to succeed financially. A financial planner can assist with creating a long term strategy that will help you plan for retirement.
Just know that you don’t have to face these problems alone. There are credit counselling services also available if you feel overwhelmed by all the financial obstacles you foresee. Getting coaching on your personal finances isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s actually a smart thing to do. All successful people have mentors and coaches in all 7 areas of their lives, so that they can stay on track and live the best life possible. Why don’t you think about getting some help.
So hopefully these 6 tips will be of use to you. Even if you only implement or explore one, you may find yourself in a better financial position than you currently are. One thing is for certain – you may not be any worse off.
I’ll leave you with this saying that a “guru” (a 7 figure earner) that I followed once said to me…
“Implement spending freezes instead of spending frenzies”.
It was the best advice ever. Once I started to freeze my spending (and my credit card) – I saved money, thought twice about what I was spending on and was able to start travelling and doing things that were a lot more fun than staying at home worrying and stressing about my lack of finances and the impact that was having on my health and future.
If you have any other tips or suggestions on how to reduce financial stress or develop a wealth understanding, Id love to hear them in the comments below.
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HEADS UP – if you are struggling financially, we recommend that you seek professional assistance from a Financial Planner or such, as whilst we have tips and suggestions, we are not qualified to give advice in this area.We can however offer one possible solution to relieve your financial stress, and that is for you to consider coconnecting, or co-sharing.
Unsure whether you would like to share your home, or a room in a home? Connect with us on Facebook – CoconnectHER – and ask any questions you may have.