Money management tips to reduce stress and panic
Whether you’re employed by a company or work for yourself, January can be one of the most stressful months of the year and always seems like it goes on for eleventy million days.
Pre-planning and preparation are the best strategies for dealing with Januworry and the best time to start is now. As someone who used to be a disaster with money, I’ll share a brief story to illustrate how this can work.
Back in 2016 I’d hit a wall in my photography business. Despite working 24/7 I was flat broke, totally stuck and ready to quit. At the start of that year I’d hired a business coach to help me get back on track, the snag being I’d had to borrow the money to pay for my coaching. That loan very soon paid off and by July of 2016 I’d halved my client base, tripled my income and started to get intimately acquainted with my finances because I actually had some. Two months later I enlisted the services of a financial advisor and opened a 5 year savings plan. Every month I put $50 away, whisked out of my account by a monthly debit order and forgot about it. At the end of 2021 I cashed in this policy and was able to pay my daughter’s school fees in full at the beginning of 2022 ($5900) as well as put some money towards a deposit on a new car. I knew the money was leaving my account each month, it was a small enough amount not to miss, but it ended up being a substantial sum of money that made life much easier for me.
My point in sharing this story is that even a minimal amount of money saved over time adds up. When you have money in reserve, the months where money is tight or there are unexpected expenses no longer cause mass angst. I have multiple savings pots to ensure that I always have a security buffer and I encourage you to do the same.
Here are some suggestions to help make this Januworry your last month of financial woe:
- Have an honest look at your income and expenses. Make sure you know exactly how much money you’re spending each month and plug up any leaks (subscriptions you don’t use etc).
- Open a savings account and set up a monthly debit order for a fixed amount. If you know you’re going to be tempted to dip into said savings, make it hard to access immediately. Most banks have fixed term deposit accounts with 32 or 64 day access limits (these also have good interest rates).
- Consolidate any debt. If you’ve got multiple credit cards and you’re literally servicing the interest each month, look into how you could put the outstanding loans into one and make a plan to pay it off.
- Get some proper financial advice when it comes to savings and loans.
- If you run your own business, review your pricing structure so you’re making a good profit on the work you’re doing – this is something I can help you with – please reach out here.
- Use the quiet time to get your admin done. Rather than sitting on the couch fretting, go and update your website, amend your price lists and catch up on all the tasks you’re too busy to get to the rest of the year.
Facing your financial fears takes courage, but the ironic thing about money is that the more comfortable you are with it, the easier it is to earn and enjoy.
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