They say that best things in life are free. Unfortunately, the essential things in life are not. Food, shelter, water, electricity, a phone line, an internet connection… pretty much everything worth having comes at a cost. And while many of us are able to bear the cost of living with a smile on our faces, a lot of families consider money one of their most persistent worries. They worry that they don’t have enough, they worry that they won’t be able to get more, they worry that their debts have placed a stranglehold on their household’s cash flow, and they worry that they aren’t solvent enough to give their kids the lives that they deserve.
While there are lots of money blogs telling you to go out and get a side hustle or sell your unwanted belongings on ebay, all that is easier said than done, especially under the current circumstances. But even in this time of widespread fear and uncertainty it’s possible to improve your household finances and your relationship with money. But if you’re to do that, you must first rid yourself of your fear of money. Here we’ll look at the reasons why you’re always worrying about money and what you can do about them.
You’re living in fear of your finances
Do your bank statements go straight in to the shredder when they land on your doormat? Do you stuff your credit card statements in a drawer never to be seen again? Does the very thought of seeing your bank balance at an ATM keep you awake at night? Living in fear of your finances is absolutely no way to live. No matter what the number is on that screen or piece of paper, the dread it invokes can’t possibly compare to what’s already going in inside you. You need to rip off the band aid and take control of your finances.
Download a budget template and make sure you’re using it every month. It’s by far the best way to take control of what’s going into and out of your account, target areas of wasteful spending and see where you can make cuts and savings.
You’re not saving
Speaking of saving, if you’re not using your savings account, your options are extremely limited when unforeseen circumstances like a leaky roof or car trouble come along. As such, you’ll have no choice but to rely on credit cards or (worse still) a payday loan. That means more debt and more of your monthly income wasted on interest.
It’s time to take control of your finances by paying something into your savings every month. You don’t necessarily have to pay in a lot, and by all means adjust how much you put in your account if your income fluctuates. But if you’re not using your savings, you’re condemning yourself to relying on credit.
You have no investments
Savings are the most risk-free way to grow your money, but some families choose to supplement their savings with investments. The great thing about investment is that it’s entirely up to you how, when and how much you invest. You can have some fun experimenting with different markets on mobile apps, or you can use a windfall like an inheritance or a modest lottery win to invest in overseas property. Do your homework, learn about the markets, start small, try not to keep all your eggs in one basket, and be aware that all investments carry an element of risk. You might just find that your investments can grow your wealth far more effectively than your savings.
Your debts feel beyond your control
Finally, it’s impossible to take control of your household finances if you’re not in control of your debts. Unfortunately, while debt is just another fact of life for many households, we can still treat our debts like a personal failure, and they can get tangled up in feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy. These feelings can cause us to bury our heads in the sand, allow interest rates to spiral out of control and make our debts much harder to manage.
Here are some ways in which you can take control of your debts and stop them from keeping you up at night;
- Talk to your creditors. There are entire teams dedicated to helping you if you’re unable to make good on your monthly repayments. You may also be able to renegotiate interest rates on your credit cards.
- Move your credit card debt to a new card with a lower interest rate.
- Consider a Debt Consolidation Loan.
- Reach out to a Credit Counselling Service which may be able to negotiate a better interest rate and more manageable repayments on your behalf.
Whatever your circumstances, you can take back control of your finances and finally stop worrying about money.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.