In the same way we clean our closets out every so often, the same processes should be done with our finances and money goals. With every new milestone — be it a new job, relationship or new family member (furry or otherwise) — it’s necessary we get organised, refocus and set a new vision for our spending.
According to the Australian Psychological Society, financial worries are the single greatest cause of stress for Australians year on year. But since we all have enough to worry about outside of our bank balances, we want to help you get centred and take charge of your financial wellness strategy. Maybe ease in your stress just a little.
Here’s how to do just that.
Our wellbeing is strongly linked to a healthy routine and a sense of ongoing organisation, so it makes sense to be organised when it comes to our money as well.
Money helps us through many of life’s great events — education, travel, marriage, family, first home, retirement, and unexpected hiccups along the way. But despite its importance, organising our money has always been looked upon as a chore, rather than a tool to reach our goals.
Make time for financial wellness
You’re happy to spend an hour a day improving your physical fitness at yoga, yet haven’t opened your budget spreadsheet since last year.
Your financial wellness should be considered as part of your overall health, and time should be set aside each week or month to help you align your lifestyle with your incomings and outgoings.
Understand your relationship with money
We all have varying personalities that influence our relationships with money. Take a moment now to reflect on what kind of values you hold when it comes to money, and what money represents to you (freedom security, power, etc).
Looking at your money personality encourages you to hold up the mirror and be honest with yourself about your ‘money upbringing’, and your spending and saving habits.
When we grow up, we tend to view money in the same ways as our parents, but this means we don’t always spend it in ways that are ideal for us.
So, next time you find yourself about to make a purchase, ask yourself: “Is this purchase aligned with my values?”
Explore your current habits
It may not be the most fun activity, but understanding your spending patterns will help you see the bigger picture. Having a real understanding of your average spending per month gives you a better opportunity to organise yourself and prepare for upcoming bills, rego, rent, and other non-negotiable expenses.
To do this, go through each line of your last bank statement and highlight with one colour the charges that are vital (and non-negotiable) for you to live, like rent and bills.
Highlight with a different colour those charges that brought you the most joy, like that dinner out with your friends or that much-needed bag you had your eye on for a long time.
Highlight with a third colour those charges you could have gone without, like that online purchase that you never returned because you felt too lazy to do it.
The purpose of this exercise is to give you a good idea of what’s important to your quality of life, and where you might just be spending money on unproductive items.
If you’re reading this, you are already on the path to financial wellbeing. Don’t stop there! Help yourself along and get yourself a Best Financial Friend.