This post has been inspired by a question I received. Do you ever feel absolutely overwhelmed with money, and you feel that you can just NEVER get ahead??
Just when you think that you have some savings, BANG! Something happens, and then you have to take that money out again and your savings go down to £0 again.
It’s really easy to get completely dispondent.
So, in this post, I want to talk you through some things you can do to start examining what’s happening.
What Goals Are You Aiming For?
Figuring out what is going wrong with your money starts with the end in mind. What are you even trying to achieve? Is it to spend less than you earn? Is it to build an emergency fund? Is it to start investing? Is it to make sure you have money for childcare?
Turn these goals into MONETARY figures – how much do you need?
Once you have a money-goal, then you can start on the next step.
What Are You Spending Money On?
The first step is to find out EXACTLY what you are spending money on. This may seem like a boring exercise, but it’s absolutely essential. Even millionaires do this (that’s how they got there!).
You can either do this retrospectively and pull out some bank statements or you can do this prospectively and track all your spending for one month.
Detail EVERYTHING and don’t censor yourself – you’ll be making changes later.
You can then organise the spending into categories:
- Essential spending (things that keep your house warm and food on the table)
- Fun spending (money you spend just on you)
- Charity spending and gifting
- Debt payments
- Emergency Fund saving
- Saving for other things
If you have a lot of spending where you don’t know where it fits – for example, cash withdrawals, then you’ll need to monitor what you’re spending your cash on.
Now Figure Out Savings
Once you’ve done this, you can start to identify patterns in your spending. Decide which things can be ditched, and which things can be altered. When did you last look at switching your bills for example? If you have two cars, do you need both? Do you even need a car at all?
This needs to go way beyond lattes and eating takeaways – biggest spends are transport, accommodation, children and household bills like groceries. Examine everything and see where you can make savings – you need to be brutal.
What If You Can’t Find Any Savings?
Well if you are really honest and you can’t find savings, then you’ll need to bring in more income to reach your goals.
There are lots of ways you can do this.
Sometimes it just comes down to making more money. List 100 ways you could make more – if you really want to reach your goals then you will find a way to make them happen.
Mindset Is Your Best Friend
Sorting your money out is not easy – I’ve been focusing on my own money now for 5 years and I have had numerous ups and downs. It is not a straight line to the end. It’s an ongoing journey, and yes, there will be months that you overspend, and there will be months where things go well. It’s all part of the process, so don’t give up!
Track your net worth or your credit score to demonstrate to yourself how you are doing. Track your debt as it is being paid off. Keep a record of all the no-unnecessary spend days you have. Track something! This is how you become aware of your progress and see the changes. You don’t have to get there all at once – it’s baby steps and small increases over time.
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