Written by Kelle Salle
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Improving your relationship with money is easier said than done. Some of us may find it easier to manage while others struggle. To add to that, we’ve all been taught different things about money and the level of importance it should hold in our lives from an early age but I think we can all agree that no matter how much of it you have, it should always be managed properly. If you don’t have the best relationship with money, the last thing you should do is beat yourself up about it. A large part of improving your relationship with money lies in being honest with yourself about your spending habits. If you want to improve your relationship with money, then this article is for you. We’ve asked Dani Nicholls, Beauty Content Creator and ex Social Media Manager at Money Saving Expert, for some insight.
Why do you think people have such a complex relationship with money?
I think one of the reasons why people have such a complex relationship with money is our upbringing. It has a huge impact on our thoughts and feelings about money. Social media is another driver as it’s so easy to see what is going on in other people’s lives and compare theirs to ours – from the car they drive to the handbag they carry and even the products they use on their skin! We live in a time where everything is a wealth indicator, which is a shame, because we don’t know these people well enough to understand how they’ve been able to acquire such items. We tend to forget that social media is a highlight reel.
Why is financial self-care important?
There is a lot of research that links mental health and financial health. Not knowing whether you’ll be able to cover personal expenses can be anxiety-inducing. Financial self-care is important but I am a big believer in money not being the ‘be-all,end-all’ in a person’s life. Understanding your financial position and taking the necessary steps to improve it is key. Start by writing down your short and long-term goals and taking it from there and remember that you can always turn things around regardless of how bleak things may seem in the present moment.
How can you improve your relationship with money?
Have a budget – Don’t pluck figures out of the air. Create a budget and do your best to stick to it. Your budget should be something you look at throughout the month and input actual figures next to what you initially planned to spend – this is what I call a working budget. By doing this, you’ll be able to have an accurate picture of what you are spending your money on every month. Budgets are great for tracking and mindful spending. Once you’ve reviewed your expenses for the first month, you’ll start to get a clear idea of what you need to cut back on.
Don’t underestimate the importance of monthly, quarterly and annual check-ins – If you want to improve your relationship with money, it’s important to set goals. Whether it’s saving, reducing, paying off debt or even cutting back on guilt-free spending, always check in on your progress as you’ll be able to get a real view of your financial situation. If you find that you’re not on track, do not beat yourself up. Many of us have found ourselves spending more money than we thought we would due to the cost of living crisis. All you need to do if you’ve gone off track is reassess the situation and set more realistic goals.
Educate yourself – Listen to podcasts, read books, watch shows and check out social media content from financial experts. Start small at first so you don’t get overwhelmed with too much information. Educating yourself on all things finance isn’t about taking everyone’s advice – it’s about widening your awareness of the options that are available to you so that you can make the most out of your money.
Use free expert advice – A lot of financial advisors offer complimentary consultations. Sometimes, just speaking to someone can give you a fresh perspective. This is definitely something I would recommend self-employed people or business owners do as their income tends to fluctuate from month to month, so it can be harder to make long-term financial plans. A financial advisor can help you feel more in control of your money and understand how to make it work for you in spite of any circumstances you may encounter.
Don’t be avoidant – If you want to improve your relationship with money, the worst thing you can do is have your head in the sand. Take minimum payments, for example. Some people tend to adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to them, which isn’t the best thing to do. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about money is that the more you avoid it, the more anxious you become about it. Facing things head-on is a much better approach because it allows you to make informed decisions based on your actual circumstances versus what you think they are.
Are there any resources you would recommend that could help with money management?
I’m an ex MoneySavingExpert employee, so of course I’d recommend visiting their website and subscribing to their newsletter! I also love MoneyMedic’s newsletter. If you are in debt, I would highly recommend listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast. When I was in debt, listening to other people who were in similar positions and how they dealt with it really helped me understand how to tackle it – and feel less isolated. If you’re a fan of Netflix, I’d recommend watching How To Get Rich, which I found very educational. If you are in debt and need help managing your money, there are amazing charities like StepChange who help those in debt and you can call them anonymously.