I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas this year. I had a (mostly) lovely day on the 25th. Unfortunately though my dad got ill in the evening and had to be taken to his local A&E. He’s doing ok now, but a whole host of tests will now have to be done to work out what happened. Not the greatest of starts to 2018.
The way I look at it, there’s nothing I can do to change the situation. His health is what it is. However, I need to keep a strong and positive mind set in order to help my dad and my family through this, and I can work out the things I CAN change.
How does this relate to money?
The events on Christmas day made me think about how mindset is so important when handling problems and life in general.
Its normal to get upset and to want to curl up in a little ball and cry when life throws you shit, but eventually we need to pull out of the wallowing and regain a positive mindset in order to get through a problem. I’m not saying its easy at all (and before you say anything, I’m absolutely NOT talking about people with a mental illness; a person cannot simply “pull themselves” out of depression. It is an illness that requires time, support and treatment).
“When we first start managing money properly, there are going to be plenty of ups and downs”
I was in a massive panic when I first went cold-turkey on using my credit cards. How would I survive? What if things went wrong and I couldn’t pay all my bills? I’d have times of being so scared I’d start crying at the thought of not being able to get through the end of a month without having enough money to pay my bills. Having to manage my monthly outgoings without the “safety net” of a credit card was something I found so hard to start with. More than a year on, I’m now used to not having my credit card, and if I do use it, I pay it off in full the following month so I don’t incur any interest.
I also had to make sacrifices, and in the scheme of things, I can see now it really wasn’t that bad (it just felt like it at the time). For example, I didn’t have a single holiday for over a year (no weekend trips, nothing!), and I ended up moving out of London in order to set up a home with my boyfriend, but it also made financial sense. Moving away drastically reduced my outgoings. I’ve had to use various techniques to stay in budget like paying for everything in cash and using a multiple bank account system. I know some of you may be reading this thinking what do I know of hardship, but its all relative. Compared to how I’d been spending prior to this, these were major sacrifices for me.
Then, just when I thought I had a grip of my finances, I started having trouble with my income.
I went from working on an adhoc basis for more money, to suddenly a really basic wage working full time, AND now being taxed more. Like many people, I have to deal with making my money stretch as far as I can, in addition to earning through overtime and “side hustles” to be able to continue to do fun things until my income picks up again. Swapping time for money sucks, but it has to be done if I want experiences and things! Its not how I plan to make extra money long term, but for now, its meeting a need I have.
Do what it takes
This is what it takes to still have a life, and be able to keep myself out of more debt. Not to mention paying off what I already have.
So what about you? Have you been wallowing in self-pity for a bit too long during 2017? Thinking that if you only had a better job that paid more, you’d then be ok?
Well let me tell you that its more about what you do with the money you have, than about bringing in more. If you have poor money management skills, you’ll just haemorrhage more money as your income goes up.
This is why many lottery winners end up broke after a few years.
The problem is, money is one of those super-charged subjects that people find really hard to talk about. This is why I am writing about money, and contributing to the growing number of voices out there about good money management skills.
Its about time that collectively, we treat our money in a much better way than we currently treat it. Imagine if money was a friend or a partner – would they want to stick around with you based on how you treat it?
Change your thoughts, change your actions
You may have seen something like this before (I’m paraphrasing the guru who is Tony Robbins), but its always good to reiterate.
Our upbringing leads to…
our beliefs which leads to…
our thoughts, which form…
…which lead to our outcomes in life.
Once you are aware of this, you can start challenging it and changing it. By blaming your past actions or upbringing, and wallowing in self-pity, you are trapping yourself into a downward spiral that is hard to escape from.
New Year is a perfect time to start thinking about what you want to achieve. Do you have a long bucket list you just can’t afford to get through, or debt that is holding you back from buying your first home or creating any kind of savings?
Perhaps this is the year you can FINALLY sort out that money issue you’ve been having, or to help you figure out a way of bringing in a bit of extra income so you can start investing or saving. Whatever it is, now is the perfect time to do it.
You can even get started now, before you go back to work. What are you waiting for?!
I’m raising a metaphorical glass of prosecco to you for a new year and a new you….CHEERS! Here’s to your amazing financial future!
Until next week,
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