I don’t know about you, but life for me and my family has never been straightforward. If anything, it feels like there are always curveballs being thrown at us. At times, it has caused stress and strained my relationship with my other half, but it didn’t have to. I have realised over the years that money is a tool that can help me achieve my goals. I’d love to share some tips that have helped my family and me to make the most of our money.
1. Recognise your shopping triggers
Some people eat when they are stressed, some bite their nails or bite their lip and some… yes, you guessed it, they shop! That’s me! When I am feeling stressed, I like to go shopping. While shopping can be a mood lifter and stress reliever, it can also become a slippery slope and can become the source of unnecessary stress. If a deadline at work or a family matter is stressing you out and the thought of shopping brings a feeing of euphoria, you might just be a stress shopper. Recognising this is the first step, but then, take steps to avoid shopping when you are stressed! Plan, declutter, avoid impulse buying and shop with friends and family to keep you accountable – just make sure it’s not your teenage daughter, because if your daughter is anything like mine, you’ll find that you’ll spend more than you intended! Better still, only take cash with you, so you don’t overspend. Be a smart shopper – your purse will thank you, mine sure did!
The most important way to change how you handle your money is to budget, so you can make your money do what you want it to. But, let’s be real here. Sometimes we are so intent on saving that we set an unrealistic budget and then think we have failed when we struggle to attain this. My other half and I look at our income and expenditure on a spreadsheet and set our budget accordingly (man, are children expensive… especially as they move into the teenage years) allowing for a few luxuries here and there, to keep us motivated (him more than me, obviously). We also make changes as needed but ensure that we are spending less than we earn. When we set our budget at the beginning of the month, we get to decide if we want to change the financial picture based on our family’s priorities, which often feel like our children’s priorities (any parents with me?). I view my budget like a fitness tracker – it helps me to monitor my spending and income so I can get ahead.
3. Get out of debt and start to save
So, you’ve set your budget and now you know how much you are paying in interest each month. But for many people, and my family at one point in time, debt is a very real thing. Getting out of debt was the best decision we ever made. Not only do you have less to worry about, you have extra money to spend on the people you love the most – not just the teenager, but the cute one that thinks that money grows on trees. I digress, but I think kids really need to know how much things cost now. As we all know, starting is sometimes the hardest bit. For my family, we started by clearing the smallest debt which was a store card and then tackled the bigger debt. Now, we have freed up some extra cash so we can save and put away money for those unexpected expenses and more importantly for the future of my two children. It takes time, but it is so worth the effort!
Disclaimer: The above information does not replace financial advice. Please ensure you seek independent financial advice before making any decisions regarding your finances. We also recommend that you carry out your own research to ensure that this is right for your own unique circumstances. Please note that we sometimes link to other websites but we cannot be held responsible for their content.