My Top 3 Money Hacks to Fix Your FinancesAug 24, 2021
OK, so let’s address the big scary monster in the room…
Money has the potential to make or break you, if you let it.
I know that it’s not easy if you haven’t got a plan, if you haven’t been taught, or if you haven’t got the privilege of having dreams to focus on…
But trust me, the minute you take your finances into your own hands is the minute that your financial future starts to look brighter.
So how do we start?
In a nutshell, it’s about breaking down the steps into teeny weeny milestones that lead along the road to the big, bold goals.
Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to invest in the stock market? Do you want to boost your pension? Do you want to set up your dream business so you’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck?
These goals are 100% achievable, if you first start looking at the money basics.
What are money basics?
I’m talking about the number crunching, the A’s, B’s and C’s. How to save, how to face debt, how to build your credit score. If you’ve ever felt that heat in your cheeks when you’re in a room of people talking about investment strategies and inside you’re freaking that you don’t even know how to open a second bank account, then I totally get you.
How can you become the expert in your own money story?
How Much Do I Cost To Keep?
If you want to start figuring out how to fix your finances, the first step is to figure out how much you cost to live.
Another way of looking at this is: What is my personal survival budget?
How much do I have going out of my account that is my minimum level of spending, to live the life I’m currently living?
I want you to work out all of your outgoings for the month.
Make a list - make it pretty, make it basic - whatever it is that will help you get those numbers out.
Start writing down the set expenses, like rent, bills, travel and food...
Then start thinking of some of the items that are specific to you, but maybe you have previously classed as luxuries (eg. I would put things like haircuts or daily coffees in this category).
Then start to add your variables… think of all of the things that you know that come up, but you don’t exactly have a number attached to them. Put in some estimates next to each.
If you’re stuck, refer to your last month’s spending on your bank account to remind yourself of the types of things you buy month in and out (eg. gifts or eating out).
Once you have a full list of all of your outgoings, add all of those numbers up to find out your total monthly spend. Estimates are also totally ok here, as we’re taking massive imperfect action.
Now times your monthly number by 12. This is how much you cost to live for a year.
How do you feel about that number? Is it more or less than you thought it would be?
Sort Your Savings.
Of all our money made, our savings is the only part we keep for ourselves. So let’s make it count...literally.
We are currently in a Pandemic and let’s be honest...it has become our new norm. So it’s really hard to separate the impact of Covid-19 from our finances.
Booms and busts are part of the financial cycle. Highs and lows are normal for business owners, so to be equipped to adjust and thrive, it's very useful to spend a little time preparing a crisis savings strategy.
If you’ve been kicking yourself a little bit for not having sorted your finances sooner, I totally get you. Most of us couldn’t have predicted something like this happening.
But the point is, we can’t predict any of the big crisis’ or emergencies that crop up in our lives from time to time. What we can do, is limit the stress that can land on us in a heartbeat, and curb the element of surprise in the moments we need to be able to react.
It's not too late to make a savings strategy! A financial plan for future dips will save you from relying on grants and credit cards when unforeseen circumstances hit, not if.
Now is the perfect time to start building yourself back up, learning from your struggles and figuring out how to make sure you're covered next time.
Hopefully this will help to limit anxiety for future you...
So let’s get down to the number crunches and start attaching targets to your savings goals.
Create 3 savings goals:
1. Crisis Fund Savings - A crisis fund is a pot of money put aside 'just in case'. This will be your safety net, so is a good idea to set up first. For any type of emergency, like unexpected illness or loss of work, or a Pandemic…
2. Short Term Savings - Instead of thinking of these savings pots as 'nice to haves', I like to prioritise them as MUST haves, because I want to be investing in my happiness for years to come. Once I hit the target amount for my Crisis Fund, I redirect savings to my short term goals.For saving towards things like holidays, a car, or funding your side hustle.
3. Long Term Savings - I place these savings in the highest interest account available, as I'm not planning on accessing the money for a while. Choosing a 'locked' savings account is particularly useful in stopping the temptation to spend early. Saving towards things like buying a house or a wedding
The best motivation to keep up your savings is to attach goals, so you’re emotionally invested in the success of the outcome.
I even suggest giving them personalised names to keep you excited and motivated to put money away.
What’s Your Number?
It can be tricky to put a value on your own creative work outside of costs and labour, so I have a quick tip for finding that spot that feels right.
This is known as your pricing sweet spot!
This is a really great tool for establishing some personal boundaries or repositioning your worth within your workplace.
You may have a full-time job and you just feel like you’re not being paid enough…
You may run your own business and you find that you’re under charging for your services...
This is the number you feel confident to communicate when charging for your work.
Speaking your prices aloud to yourself first is great practice for communicating your worth to clients and it also makes it less likely you'll undervalue yourself.
So say out loud "I charge X per hour / day / project"
Pick a ballpark number, write it down and say the above phrase out loud.
Do this a number of times, increasing the price and repeating it out loud until you start to feel really uncomfortable.
Go back down in numbers until you settle on the one that feels only a little uncomfortable. Then you know you've found your sweet spot!
If you want your future money landscape to be pretty and pruned, then you have to put in the work, as though making a beautiful flower garden. If you’re ready for this flower garden to grow and bloom and turn into a beautiful masterpiece that you can admire and bask in, then you will see these steps as little seedlings ready to be planted.
If you can get these three hacks checked off your list this week, you’ll be left feeling a little lighter with your financial worries.
You’re not alone in this, and I want to make sure that you have all the resources you need to make your financial dreams into your reality.
Remember that money is a tool and that you are the driver.
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