Money is not a dirty word. Like it or not, it’s a huge part of our lives. Yet so many of us have a bad relationship with money.
When you think about it, money can be equally responsible for fixing and causing so many of our life problems. Individuals stress about it. Couples fight about it. And friends or family fall out over it.
So how do you change the way you think, act and manage your money so you can build a healthy money relationship?
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MONEY RELATIONSHIP
Talk About It
What amazes me is how many couples avoid talking money. Just like any relationship, you need to communicate in order to have an effective money relationship.
Sure it can be a stressful topic, especially if one member of the household manages the finances and the other doesn’t understand it. Or worse, when one is too afraid to admit when there are money troubles for fear of stress on the relationship or result in major arguments. But it isn’t healthy.
Start talking about your finances and improve your money relationship by being on the same page. If you are in a couple, make sure you both know your incoming and outgoing expenses, and the overall state of your financial health. It takes two to tango!
Once you start talking about your money, it becomes easier to budget effectively. A good household budget should be more than just income and bills.
A budget should consider weekly and monthly expenses, such as groceries, car maintenance and petrol, school expenses, personal care, entertainment and clothing. Make sure you take the time to consider all your outgoing expenses, and create a bit of a buffer for the unexpected.
With the budget in place, the next step is to make sure you are also setting yourself up a savings fund, or at the very least, an emergency fund.
Sometimes the unexpected happens and if you did not plan for irregular expenses into your budget, you may end up facing some serious stress or financial strain when it happens.
We recently had a hot water system that needed replacing, right when our most expensive annual bills were due. It isn’t a cheap item to replace so thankfully we had money set aside for those unexpected emergencies and were able to manage the expense without too much stress.
Stay Within Your Limits
One of the quickest ways to end up in a bad relationship with your money is to overspend. Overspending leads to debt and stress, and soon you lose control over your finances. This is a bad place to be in.
Know your limits and how much you can afford to spend. Avoid pushing that limit and learn how to have control over your spending habits. This is closely linked to your ability to budget well.
It can be really difficult for many people to pull themselves out of debt. The best method to managing it is to avoid unnecessary debt.
While we all may have good intentions to talk, budget, plan and limit, sometimes despite these intentions, we know ourselves well enough to know we are going to fall off the bandwagon and return to unhealthy money relationship ways.
If this sounds like you, admitting it is a great first step.
Second step is to put processes in place to keep you on track, whether it be support of a family or a professional financial planner (there’s that talking step again), or setting your finances up in such a way that you can’t go off track without having to think it through first, such as an online access only savings account that prevents ATM withdrawals. That extra wait time might be enough to make you rethink your splurging.
Enjoy A Happy Relationship With Money
Ideally what you want is to have a positive, happy and healthy relationship with your money. This comes from putting all the above steps in place so you can feel a sense of security.
Sure, sometimes things do go different to how we planned and we can find ourselves struggling despite doing everything we should, but taking positive steps now will minimise the impact.
We should be able to enjoy our money relationship and be able to live a comfortable life within the means available to us. That means having the ability to splurge every now and again or save for that something special, like an overseas holiday or new shiny car.
Remember, money is not a dirty word. It’s simply a matter of perspective!
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