Even if it hasn’t been the best start to 2019 where your money management’s concerned, there’s always a way back to better financial wellbeing.
It’s easily done, isn’t it? When Christmas and New Year rolls around, we sometimes might set ourselves a budget, but we might feel the pressure to buy presents for people, because we know they’re going to spend on us. We then think that they’re spending more than us, so we panic buy something that blows the budget.
Overspending can happen without you even realising, so that’s why you shouldn’t feel so hard on yourself, even if the year might not have set off in the right way where your money’s concerned. There’s good news - there are things you can do almost immediately to get the start of the year back on track.
Lay it all out
It can be pretty overwhelming to look at what you owe, especially if you owe it to a number of different organisations. However, the best way to get ahead of your repayments is to take a step back and see how much you can realistically pay back on a monthly basis. If you’ve done this and it feels like an impossible amount to repay, then perhaps you could speak with the banks/lenders and work out something which feels more manageable.
Talk to someone
Things always feel more manageable when when you’ve got someone to share with. Why not invite a friend around and have a time where you explain how you’re feeling about your financial situation? It can be a personal conversation to have, but there might be some great results that come out of it. For example, you could develop an understanding where you’re accountable to your friend for how you spend, perhaps checking in with them on regular periods to keep on track.
Treat yourself (within reason!)
Once you’ve worked out a good system of saving and repaying any debts, you might be able to work towards buying something that you really want. This behaviour is commonly referred to as “intentional spending”, a term made popular by Dan Ariely. Intentional spending is about being aware of what you currently spend your money on and reflecting whether it's on things you really want - or if your money could be better spent elsewhere.
Give it time (about a month, to be precise)
You might have heard about the idea that it takes around 21 days to form any habit. Well, now it’s time to think about your new financial behaviour as just that: a behaviour, that over time, turns into a habit. In a few weeks you could have your repayments under control, but in the meantime, it might be a little difficult to get into the groove of of managing your money. Don’t panic - stick with it. Maybe give your friend that we mentioned above a call if it’s proving too difficult. Whatever you need to do - just don’t give up.
Get honest with yourself
Do the last few months simply represent a busy and expensive time, or do you think that it’s in line with how you’ve been spending? If it’s the latter, it might be time to look at your relationship with money. What are the essential things you need? What are the things you could do without? These aren’t easy questions to answer, but once you get to the bottom of just how you use money, you’ll be in a much better position to understand how to manage it.
We may only be a few weeks into 2019 and your finances may not be where they need to be, but that’s ok. What the tips above have hopefully shown you is that there are some practical things you can do to turn your money situation around and make it one of your biggest successes.