Have you ever wondered why some people always have money while others don’t? If you’re on the side which doesn’t have money, you could be Financially Drunk. What does that mean? Basically, that you can’t keep your finances in check and even though you work, there never seems to be enough.
Getting your finances back to a healthy place can be tough. It’s a little like losing weight: great in theory and hell in practice.
Why is that?
Much as eating habits can cause obesity, spending and saving habits can cause financial anorexia when one is out of balance with the other.
How do you start getting financially fit?
Identify the Problem
This can be difficult when you don’t know where to begin. To start understanding your spending habits, you need to log them. Literally, write down each transaction so that you can see how much you are spending on clothes, entertainment, bills, etc. You can do this by carrying a pocket book and writing down the amount and what you bought right after you’ve made your purchase. Alternatively, you can use a smartphone app. Moneybook is excellent.
At the end of each month put all your data into a spreadsheet with the appropriate categories; clothes, food, entertainment, etc. Soon, you will have a clear picture of what is coming in and what is going out. More importantly, you’ll see in which areas you’re having financial problems. Is it that you spend too much money on entertainment, or is that that you’re just not paid enough in the first place?
Spending Too Much
If there’s enough coming in, but too much going out, then you need to examine the reasons why you’re spending all of, or more than, you earn. If something isn’t right in your life, you’re more than likely compensating for it by creating a habit that is causing you to spend unnecessarily.
We’ve all seen it in others: like the girl in the office who has to be wearing the latest designer clothing, but earns less than you do; or the colleague who overeats because they are bored. Both of these people have habits that are costing them money.
If you have a habit that is financially detrimental, it’s worth reaching out to help organisations or professionals, like therapists, that are qualified to help.
Not Earning Enough
If there isn’t enough coming in to start with, it’s likely that you’re underselling yourself professionally. Perhaps you’re just not good at selling yourself and feel bad about discussing money with your boss, or clients. If that’s the case, find yourself a coach, or mentor who is running a successful business, or doing well in their job and ask for some friendly advice over a cup of coffee. Take a course that will teach you how to deal with negotiating pay confidently and successfully.
Getting Out of the Rut
If you have a deficit and your dreams are on hold because of it, it’s good to get out of the rut and to a place where your goals feel possible again.
Get a second Job.
It doesn’t have to be waiting tables, although that can be lucrative in some establishments. Do you have a skill that’s marketable? Can you build websites, fix cars, or mend clothing? Can you solve a problem for someone else and charge them for that service? If so, you can turn that into a second income.
Pay Down Debts.
If you have credit card, or store card debt, it’s a good idea to pay it off as fast as possible because the longer the debt is hanging around, the more it’s costing you. There’s nothing wrong with having credit, but there is something wrong with a credit card statement you’re scared to look at.
Getting Cash Quick.
If your debts aren’t large – under 10k – it’s worth dedicating a period of time to making and throwing money at that debt. Heard of Ebay and Amazon? Dig out all your clutter and sell it off. Volunteer for a clinical trial. Companies like GSK medical trials pay up to £2000 or $2500 for healthy participants and will accept volunteers back for up to four trials a years.
Financial Sobriety is Possible
Taking control of your finances ultimately means taking control of your life. And there’s no better, or healthier feeling than that.