Do you feel anxious when you think about your money? Are you afraid to check your accounts after a shopping trip or a weekend away? Do you tap and spend without really knowing how much you have left? Do you reach your overdraft each month?
Financial habits are easy to ignore and laugh off when you affirm ‘I’m just not good with money,’ BUT how do you really feel?
A lack of financial control is so common. It unfortunately can cause stress and strain on you and your bank account. Being financially free means being good with the money you have and aware of where you stand with it at all times, it is NOT about earning more money. Believe it or not, if you earned twice as much as you currently do now…you would still be in the same situation. Your spending habits will repeat again and again if left unchanged no matter how much you have.
Becoming ‘good with money’ is not an overnight transformation. It is the day-to-day habits that separates the financially free from the rest.
Diligence, clarity and awareness are key. Want to know what the financially free all have in common? They set goals and stick to the budget they set themselves as best they can. They are prepared for life getting in the way.
They do not suffer or hold back on their dreams, they make plans, work towards what they desire and sacrifice what is not important to them. They invest in their future and themselves. They track and take responsibility. They don’t think “I wish I had what they have” or “It’s just not fair, I can’t afford what I want!”
Healthy money habits are embedded in them. Read through the below and adapt them to your money mindset today.
These habits might seem simple or obvious BUT let’s play a game…add up how many of them you do and mark your financial wellness out of 10.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE & TRACK YOUR SPENDING
The simple process of writing down and analysing exactly what you are spending your money on regularly will make you think twice about unnecessary expenditure. This can be transformative. Do you know exactly what you spent in the last month versus how much you earned? Do you know what you spent your money on? Knowing where your money goes will open your eyes to see what you are prioritising and labelling as ‘important’ in your life.
2. SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN
It sounds obvious but so many of us can fall into debt by borrowing from the future to pay for something today. It will always catch up with you so make sure you are prepared and capable of paying it back. The interest rate on a personal loan can vary widely. For example, a 2% interest rate may sound attractive but the ‘APR’ is the true cost of what you are being charged. Beware of this and always calculate the cost before you borrow. Ask is it worth it or should I wait until I can afford it? You don’t know what the future holds so always think about and picture your future self before signing on the dotted line.
3. MAKE SAVINGS NON-NEGOTIABLE
You might be thinking ‘Hell no, I have so much debt to pay off first before thinking about saving’. No matter what your situation is currently, make savings non-negotiable and get into the habit, even if it’s just a few €/£ a week, every bit adds up and the physical act of putting money away feels so good and energetically tells the Universe you respect money and are ready for financial wellness.
TIP: set up direct debits to your savings account for the day you get paid. Auto-saving is much easier.
4. ALLOCATE EVERY CENT IN YOUR BUDGET
Budgeting can seem restrictive sometimes which isn’t so fun. Every month, sit down and allocate a purpose for each and every €/£. If changes need to be made throughout the month, make them. This gives control and clarity without restrictions. Not having a plan for how you wish to spend your money will lead to impulse buying, a feeling out of control and unnecessary spending.
Having a finance journal or budget planner can be a great resource to help you get more organised with your money. The Head Plan Finance Journalis an undated 12-month journal that will help you take ownership of your finances and revolutionise your relationship with money through financial goal-setting pages, monthly tracking, budget planning, splurge lists, progress trackers, notes & working pages, financial review and so much more.
5. CUT BACK ON SMALL HABITS FOR THE ‘BIG THINGS’
Hear this loud and clear: reducing your small spending now means you can spend BIG later!! Analyse how much your ‘guilty pleasures’ are costing you. We are all for pleasure and splurges, but it is important to know their long-term cost. For example, spending €/£12 on lunch each weekday is €/£3,120 /year and after 25 years this is €/£78,000. If it’s worth it, brilliant! If it’s not, make a change. Knowing the long term cost of small habits gives you perspective. Maybe this is your morning coffee, an app subscription, gym membership or a few online impulse buys a month. Bring awareness to these and calculate what they are ACTUALLY costing you.
6. WHEN YOU HAVE IT....INVEST IT
Getting on top of your finances will eventually lead to investment opportunities. If you have money that you don’t plan on spending right away it’s best not to leave it sitting pretty in an account gathering dust. Every year it may lose value so ensure its keeping up with inflation by investing it wisely. Go to an investment advisor or someone you know who has experience on where to start. Investment is not just for the wealthy. Start small and thank yourself later.
7. SET GOALS FOR YOUR DEBTS
Again, this might sound obvious but when in debt, plan to get out sooner rather than later. Put a payback plan in place and have a ‘clearance date’ in your calendar, know how you are going to get out and when it will be gone. Pay it back with gratitude not resentment, each time you pay an amount off say thank you, whatever you took the loan out for was needed for something at the time. It enabled you to do something, give it the energy it deserves, energy flows where attention goes. What’s done is done move forward one step at a time.
8. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON PENSIONS
Not the most exciting topic but pensions are a way of saving for the future with a very important tax break. It gives you security for your retirement. Your future will be bright and something to look forward to. It’s in your hands, you can thank yourself later.
TIP: Close your eyes and picture yourself as 80 years old. How do you look, how do you feel, what are you doing? Have a conversation with yourself about money. Enable the future you to be comfortable. You deserve this security don’t you think?
9. LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
Do you have a dream to live by the sea in a beach house? Plan now for the bigger picture. Small spending hits might make you feel good in the moment but your long-term goals will be miles more satisfying. The ultimate question to ask yourself each time you are considering purchasing anything... Do I need it, or do I want it? It’s a simple yes or no answer. Are you willing to buy something you just ‘want’ and sacrifice the goals or dreams you have for the future? Small hits of things you ‘want’ will never satisfy the big dream you have to travel to Bali on an all-inclusive or buy that house by the sea. EVERY. CENT. COUNTS. Make sure you know the sacrifice before you pay the price.
10. DON’T RELY ON CREDIT
If you have gotten into the habit of counting your credit card and/or overdraft as available funds each month don’t be too hard on yourself. So many of us have relied on credit at some point. Make the conscious decision to mindfully move away from credit as a fall back and set a date to clear your debt. Know your outgoings each month, know how much you have to spend on food, entertainment, bills etc. Write a list of what you have and what you have to spend day-to-day. This is liberating. Don’t count credit where you can.
Sacrifices may need to be made but nothing can buy the feeling of sleeping soundly when you are feeling financially free and in control.
So, how did you do out of 10? Daily habits form your life and how it unfolds. If you truly want to release financial strain and gain control, clarity and peace of mind, follow these habits of the financially free, you deserve to feel good about money.
Your new abundance affirmation:
I AM IN CONTROL OF MY FINANCES AND MAKE CHOICES THAT SUPPORT MY LONG TERM VISION FOR MY LIFE.