Published on June 30, 2016 10:33 am, by Jen Bakker
1st July is the perfect time to create new and better money habits!
At MoneyBrilliant, we believe that people live better lives when they make better decisions about their money. We use technology to make it simpler and more convenient, so you will have more money to do the things you want to do and more time to enjoy living.
Why it’s important to have a goal
Living for the now is such a popular saying and a lovely thought. “Forget about the past, you can’t do anything about it.” “Think too much about the future and you’ll miss the joy of today.” Be wary of applying these mantras to your money, tomorrow comes and you aren’t prepared. As well as not being prepared you may be deeply in debt, and your new today is a stressful one.
Denying yourself something today can be unattractive, especially when your family and friends are out there having a great time. Without a vision or at least a goal for your future why would you choose to do anything different?
So when I think of my today I also think of my future. I think of what I want to do, what I want to see and importantly how I want to live. And like it or not it’s my money behaviours that will allow me or stop me from living the life I want.
It can be hard to talk about money stuff for often as we grow up we are taught to keep our money values to ourselves. Talking about money is discouraged. We need to move past that and know that it’s okay to talk about money. Basing decisions on money is okay too, it means that you are being realistic about your future and what you need to do today to achieve your goals for tomorrow.
So if you’re ready, take a good, hard long look at yourself and your life. Examine what you have and think about what you want. The gap between your current and ideal world are your obstacles. Overcoming your obstacles is your goal. And achieving these goals will bring you as close to your ideal world as you can get.
Nobody else can describe your ideal world, it’s yours! Work it out, understand it and match your goals to your own situation. Your goals are yours too.
Creating good habits
Money is both a motivator and reward, but on the flip side it can be a punishment and stressful. Changing behaviours takes mindfulness, awareness and resolve. The literature tells us that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I would argue that it can take months and sometimes even years. However long it takes, the first step is always to start.
Budgets aren’t for everyone, but if they’re for you, or if you’re ready to try they really are the best way to forward plan your money. At MoneyBrilliant we aim to make creating and maintaining good money habits simple and convenient. We do this by building your awareness of your spending, enabling you to see what, where and when. And then you must check, check, check. Checking daily will keep your money top of mind, but if that’s too much for you, choose your frequency and make it a date.
We can give you lots of tips and tricks to spend less, but just like your ideal life, your spending is individual to you. Some categories that may give you some quick savings are grocery and eating out spending, services you pay for and don’t use or services that you can negotiate.
To help identify the categories you can potentially reduce your spending in, go to your spending reports and check what you spent in the last week, month and 3 months. Plan what you’re going to spend over the next 3 months, break it down, and truly understand it. Every day or week from now, commit to going to go back and checking what you have spent in the last week.
Understanding when it goes wrong
So you’re going well, keeping your goal in mind, and all of a sudden you veer off your chosen path and spend outside your budget. What happened?
At such times it’s easier to go in to denial, just pretend that never happened, cop the next credit card bill. Even more important is to regroup, sift through your day and your mind and understand what sent you where you went. Why did you blow your shopping budget or your eating out budget? What can you do next time to make sure that doesn’t happen?
Beware of outside pressure. Friends and family as much as they love you can derail you sometimes better than you can derail yourself. Sharing your goals with those around you can be helpful, as you may get additional support. Opening up and talking about money and what you want to achieve may encourage others to do the same. You might learn something different about your money and knowledge is power! Finding a friend who will go for a hike instead of the mall or out to brunch on a Sunday is a great way to consolidate friendships, build new healthy habits and get you away from the temptation to spend.
And while you’re at it, you might as well make tax easy for next year
MoneyBrilliant have a simple tagging function. For every charity you donate to, every work expense you pay for, anything you need to declare, tag it as “tax”. Easy, easy and at the end of the financial year you can run a report with the “tax” tag and have all the figures at your fingertips.
Happy new financial year. Here’s hoping it’s a good one for you!
Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.