It’s Time to Face the State of Your Finances
Do you make money? Maybe even a decent amount? I’ll bet you’re just brilliant at managing it, aren’t you? You put 20% away before you even access your pay-check, you pay cash only for all day-to-day purchases with credit just as a back-up, and you always have plenty to spare for spontaneous treats and occasional emergencies.
Or – not.
Here’s a quick heads-up. If managing your funds is not your strong point then this could be a little painful. But you know what they say – no pain, no gain. And I’m hoping that what I’m about to share with you is going to help you pave the way to tremendous gain – both financial, and also in terms of peace of mind.
If you’re anything like me then you pride yourself on getting through an above average workload each week. For me that typically includes training or meeting with clients, being a mother, keeping the house in control (sometimes!), doing the errands, being a good daughter, partner, friend, consistently churning out 3 posts a week for my own blog plus a guest post for another blog, and on top of all that creating at least one new product, such as my recent book, every 3 months. Just off the top of my head now. You see, I’m really really good at setting the bar high in most areas of my life, and then meeting if not exceeding those standards. As a personal trainer and nutrition writer you’d better believe I’m on top of the health & fitness side of my life. And I’m pretty darn good at sticking to a detailed writing schedule. I even manage a decent social schedule.
But there’s one thing that I don’t do very well, and – oddly enough – it’s something I don’t like to talk about. And that is productively manage my finances.
And let’s be honest here – what’s the point of creating your dream life and filling it with worthwhile and exciting ventures when you’re constantly shrouded by the fear of never quite being in control of your money?
You’ve probably heard it said that we all have primal needs that must be satisfied in order to feel at peace and happy. The big three are security (taking measures to ensure your life is not in danger), shelter (a place to live and rest), and sex. In this day and age that first primal need – the sense of security – is typically associated with money, rather than a hungry beast wanting to eat you. I don’t know about you, but the truth is that I don’t feel very secure financially. And that’s despite the fact that I’m really good at making money. You see, I have this strange affliction where no matter how much doolah I generate I somehow manage to spend 105% of it. Minimum.
So how about you?
Let’s make a pact. Let’s agree that it’s time to stop being an ostrich and face the realities of our finances. And what better way to do that than by setting some Financial NY Resolutions? A few simple goals that you can write down, keep yourself accountable to, and use as a starting point to managing your money as efficiently as you do the rest of your life. I’ll go first.
MY FINANCIAL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
- To properly pay myself at the start of each week, and then use only that money for the week coming.
- This includes transferring across money for any recurring credit card expenses
- But not using my credit card for anything else unless absolutely stuck
- All passive income through my blog must be transferred straight to credit card to reduce debt, rather than straight to my wallet to increase spending
- Double the amount that I’m currently putting aside for tax (I work for myself and never quite put away as much as I should, which means I’m always behind come tax time)
- Review spending fortnightly, see if I’m spending under what I earn, review where to cut back if needed (I already record my expenses)
- Check credit card every Wednesday for recurring payments that I may have forgotten
- Use cash only for day-to-day spending
- Put aside money for tithe (if you’re not religious you could put aside money for charity) in an envelope each week rather than as a promise note on the laptop
10. Schedule a monthly review to see how it’s working and what needs to change
So now it’s your turn. You don’t have to write a lengthy list like I have (I certainly wouldn’t advise going over 10 points), but why not start with one thing you know you need to change? It’s probably something that feels really unappealing right now. If you’re not already tracking your spending I’d suggest you start there. Another thing I’d strongly recommend is checking out Ali Hale’s book Regain Your Balance. This book covers every aspect of typical life overload, and includes a chapter on money. For me this chapter alone made the book more than worth the very reasonable cost – and it was the catalyst for these resolutions. Ali even lets you download the first chapter for free J.
One last thing – please share your financial resolution(s) in the comments section below. I need the support and I’ll bet it will help you as well! After all, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to start talking openly about financial issues without feeling ashamed of what a mess you’re secretly in?
Oh – and if you actually do fit the profile of saving 20% of your income and being on top of credit card debt be sure to share your secret!
Kat Eden is a personal trainer, freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne, Australia. She’s an expert at managing her own and others’ health and fitness, but – as you’ve just read – could definitely benefit from a coach of her own in other areas of her life. Kat’s blog Body Incredible offers you regular nutrition, motivation and lifestyle tips for simple health success, and has been the launching pad to her recent e-book Secrets of Lasting Weight Loss Revealed.
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