How fit are you financially? We may think we’re in good money health, but be very wrong. Many just accept living paycheck to paycheck as normal these days but having healthy finances really means low levels of personal debt, having multiple pots of savings in place for different purposes and only using credit strategically. If you want to get into good shape with money, it’s going to take a little discipline and commitment, but it can be done.
This is because the problem isn’t actually money – it’s developing financial discipline, a concept that is quite rare in today’s buy-now-pay-later, instant gratification culture. So here’s how to shape up and get lean when it comes to money…
Get lean and shape up…your finances! Image
The first step is understanding exactly what you’re dealing with. Many never receive proper financial education as young adults and so it’s amazing how many people have no idea how things like Annual Percentage Rates or compound interest works. Begin your shape-up plan but committing to understanding your personal finances better. Sign up to some money blogs, maybe download a financial podcast or two, read through the terms and conditions attached to your accounts and look up any terms you don’t understand.
Organise Your Debts
If you have a handful of debts, look at what you owe and arrange it to your best advantage. Understand what is costing you the most, and make plans to pay off what you owe in as short a time frame as possible (checking first that you aren’t going to incur early repayment fees, either). Debt falls into secured loans – these will be set against an asset, like your home, and typically have a lower rate of interest, and unsecured like credit cards that carry higher interest rates. If you still carry historic debt such as a student loan and you have financial goals to meet, a site like http://www.refinancestudent.loan/ can help you reorganise payments to get rid of it faster. Service your debts sensibly and you will benefit from a better credit rating which means more favourable rates and deals if and when you need to borrow in the future.
Learn to Spend Mindfully
Becoming financially fit isn’t about saving every penny – it’s more about learning when to prioritise and when to say no. We are conditioned to make impulse purchases, but we can also retrain our brains to break this cycle of need-it-now with a few simple techniques. One of the best is to implement a one-month cool down period for all non-essential purchases. When you see something that you ‘must’ have, instead of heading for the nearest cashier, take a picture of the item instead and add it to a personal wishlist. Keep it on the list for one month. At the end of the month, take a look through the list. How many of those things that you ‘needed’ still feel so vital? Another trick is to set a price that you are happy to pay in your mind by asking yourself what you really think an item is worth – before you see the price tag. When you turn it over, if the item is more than expected walk away or use a comparison shopping site to find it for less online. Hand the power back to yourself – don’t let the stores dictate what you spend and when. Practice this a few times and it suddenly gets a whole lot easier to say no thanks to impulse buys!