Taking control of your finances can seem pretty scary at first, I get it. For so many of us money is something that we don’t really want to think about, let alone talk about, but I’ll bet it’s something you’ve spent a whole heap of time worrying about.
I’ve set myself the challenge of becoming more financially fit and to take control of my money. I’ve been doing a lot of planning, and researching how to tackle things like budgeting, paying off debts, saving and investments and I want to share this journey with you too!
If you’re ready to really take control of your finances, this series is going to be for you!
Your money mindset
Tell me, are you scared to look at your bank balance? Do you get a wave of nerves as your banking app loads on your phone? Ya? Well, you’re not alone! So many of us carry a fear or limiting beliefs about money that actually prevent us from truly taking control of it.
Those fears money fears might tell you that ‘you don’t have enough money’, or ‘you’ll never have enough money’, or even that ‘money is evil’. Or your beliefs about money might include things like;
‘I’m bad at maths, so there’s no way I can possibly manage my money.’
’Everyone around me is in debt, so I don’t need to worry about it’
’I’ll never be able to afford [X] so why bother’
’I never have enough money’
Girl, I get it and I held the same fears for much of my life, but I’m here to tell you - in order to take really take control of your money, you need to face these fears dead on and change your attitude towards money.
Instead of being afraid of money you have or haven’t got, instead you need to see money as a tool that you can control and decide how to use.
Get honest with yourself
Print out your latest bank statement, it’s time to get honest with yourself. Make a note of ALL the transactions your made that month. You will begin to see the stark reality of your spending habits and where your money really goes.
When I did this the first time, I found that I spent £45 on coffee in one month. That’s insane! Whatever your spending your money one, start to take notice of any patterns or behaviours. Do you spend way too much on coffee like me? Do you tend to binge shop on Sunday nights? Are you making a purchase on Amazon everyday? (guilt as charged on this one).
Understand where your money is going is a great way to start identifying the areas that you need to work on.
Tell your money where to go
Once you have a better understanding of where your money currently goes, you can start to putting together a plan of where you want you’re money to go instead. This is called a budget.
A budget doesn’t have to be a scary thing either, it’s not all about restricting yourself or cutting the fun out of your life. A budget is about understanding the power your money has and making it work for you. I love this quote from Dave Ramsey:
‘A budget is telling your money where to do, rather than wondering where it went’ - Dave Ramsey
You set your own budget, so it’s up to you to decide what you spend your money on, and only you are responsible for sticking to it. It' doesn’t have to be a rigid, unforgiving thing - it’s a flexible tool to help you get the most out of your money. Some months you’ll have to adjust it more than others, and you probably won’t get it right the first month, heck it will probably take you a few months to really get the hang of it.
I honestly believe if you really want to take control of your finances, you must first learn to live with a budget,
Do a Spending Freeze
The best tools I’ve found to really seize the moment and take control of finances is going on a spending freeze. It’s as simple as it sounds, you just don’t spend any money for a set period of time. Yes, there’s allowances for the essentials like paying your bills, food etc, but for the most part your not going to spend a penny!
You’ll be amazed by how much money you can save in such a small amount of time.
When it comes to money, it’s not enough to set a goal of saving money or paying off debt. You can’t just hope for the best. You have to take small intentional steps towards your goals, I talk more about setting small manageable goals in a previous post. So whether your goals is to stop mindless spending, grow your savings or pay off debt, these first steps will help you on your way to being financially fit and in control of your money.