Getting mindful with your money can bring about powerful changes to your whole quality of life. Here are ten simple, practical steps to help you thrive financially.
A moment is just a moment.
And inside of a moment, we are making choices. Important choices on how we see life, on the things we like, and those we don’t. We’re making choices for how we show up in the world, or, how we hide.
As these moments string effortlessly together to become a minute, an hour, a day, a week, it seems that time has barely passed. And yet before long, we are beginning yet another new year.
Our efforts to stay mindful and fully present in the moment are often centred around our emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Yet, when it comes to our financial wellbeing, we all too often forget to practise these same principles of mindfulness.
And so, it is common that we only turn attention to our financial wellbeing when we are in moments of panic, fear, guilt, or shame. These highly charged emotions easily destabilise us from our otherwise balanced centre. But like our other rituals, regular practice in attending to, and careful management of our money leads to a greater sense of control, fulfilment and freedom.
Seize the day
As this new year rolls out before us, we are gifted the opportunity to seize these moments in a different way. Imagine being able to say “This year, I’ve created a new financial pathway for myself”. A pathway which is based upon a feeling of being in control, of mindful spending, and ease in our relationship with money. Money responds to a master. So taking charge of it with small, positive, repeatable, and consistent actions will set you up for a new, relaxed dynamic to emerge.
Life is meant to be lived! And whilst money does not buy happiness, it can provide opportunities to do more of the things that make your heart sing. Whether you want to take a holiday, upgrade your car, buy a new home, start investing, grow your superannuation, or just be a little bit more organised with your money, there are plenty of simple things you can do to steer you in the right direction this year.
Here are 10 powerful steps which will help you on your way.
1. What does your heart desire?
Rather than getting caught up in what you ‘think’ you want, take a moment and tune into what your heart wants. What are the things that really light you up, that you would love to experience, do, be, and have?
Often we spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need or want, to impress people we don’t necessarily even like. And subsequently we miss out on the things we really want.
Getting clear on what you’d really love to achieve means your financial goals can be set accordingly.
And when your goals are aligned with your heart, they’ll be far easier to achieve.
Action: Start with a list of what YOU want.
2. Your greatest freedom will come from not having to ‘think’ about money.
Not having to ‘think’ about money is a wonderful gift to yourself. And, creating this kind of ‘mindful’ money freedom can easily be achieved when you have a strategic and disciplined plan in place.
When you have a plan you don’t need to ‘bury your head in the sand’. You are confident that what you have is working effectively for you. And the best part is, it’s a plan that creates the life you decide upon, not a life that just happens around you.
Your plan will want to lay out how much of your money goes to:
You – to enjoy now doing the things that light you up
You – for later years down the track so you can feel secure about your future
You – in case of an emergency
You – to grow your expertise and pursue a passion
Others – to cover your expenses
Others – for gifting and donations
When you have this worked out, you can confidently know what you have to play with, and not have to keep thinking about it. It’s very liberating!
Action: This year, get your plan, then set up an automated payment system that enables you to carve up your money so that each area is catered for.
3. Money for you
It’s important to spend money on yourself, especially if it contributes towards a positive goal you have for yourself.
While most people would advise to solely save, invest, or cut back expenses, life is for living. It’s important to spend money on yourself, and to feel good about your life too.
When you know what your heart desires, and have established a clear plan for that, there’s no guilt about spending that money! The best part is you can do away with frivolous activities which not only waste money, are time wasters but also those which are not aligned to your hearts’ desire.
The essential key is to balance your money so you can not only have the things you want now, but you are also planning for the future. Thus, ensuring you’ll continue to have enough for all those wonderful things later in your life too. In other words, plan to have it now AND in the future.
Action: Decide how much money you will keep for later so you can keep doing the things you love.
4. Create more income.
Looking for ways to making extra income on top of what you’re making at work? A side hustle aligned with your passion can be fulfilling personally, and also to your purse. One in four Australians are already going online outside of their regular job to pursue extra income. If you’re looking to get in on this action, look around to see what type of work you might have the time for, as well as what you want to gain out of it. Extra dollars means more opportunities!
Action: Always be on the lookout for more ways of generating income. A bigger slice of life comes from having a bigger pie.
5. Start an investment plan
The idea of investing should centre on ways of putting extra dollars in your purse. Getting started may mean you need to create a pool of money first. Saving as little as $14/day means within a year you’ll have over $5,000 savings. When invested, this can start creating more income for you. Many people avoid investing because they see it as too risky. However, whilst there is an element of risk when investing, there is also an unseen risk if you are not investing at all. Getting advice on the benefits to you is a great place to start.
Action: Book an appointment with a specialist who can show you investment options appropriate for you and discuss the pros & cons.
6. Round up your savings
It may not sound terribly exciting, but saving money is one of the most imperative practices you could possibly master. And it starts with small steps!
Even the smallest contributions can make a significant difference. Automated tools which capture and invest the change you receive from your daily purchases are great. For example, if you spend $9.67, the extra 33 cents to $10 is captured for you to use later. When you do this on all your purchases, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it all adds up.
Action: Find and use and automated tools for capturing extra savings.
7. Bust your debt
If there’s one thing that will keep you down and submissive to your money this year then that is the ugly four letter word – debt. Being in debt means you have a noose continuously around your cash.
When you have debt, money is being swept out of your purse and slipping straight through your fingers every month. This is money you could otherwise be using for more of the things that you’d love.
Eliminating debt releases the stranglehold, and buys you back your freedom.
To get on top of debt in 2018, break down what you owe into manageable chunks and prioritise what you can pay off first. You could start by making extra repayments on your smallest debt first. Once you have paid that off, use the surplus money to increase your repayments to the next smallest, and so on. Alternatively, you could start with the one with the highest interest rate.
Either way, each time you pay off a debt, you have created surplus cash flow equipping you to knock the next one off even faster. And then they are gone!
Action: Create and implement a plan to knock off debt.
8. Negotiate rates
Chances are it’s been a while since you’ve checked in on the interest rates you are being charged on your loans.
Who says you can’t walk into the bank and ask for a better rate?
Go on try it… you never know! You might just find extra savings sitting right under your nose.
Action: Go into your bank and ask the manager for cheaper interest rates on your loans.
9. Getting sexy with your super
Your superannuation is your nest egg for your future, and yet many people don’t keep tabs on what it’s doing. Why not start by consolidating your super into one fund if you currently have multiple funds. You are likely to pay less in fees and grow your lump sum faster when you only have one well performing fund. You might also think about contributing extra to your super in order to grow your balance, which may produce some tax savings for you too.
Action: Locate all of your superannuation funds and consolidate them into one.
10. Re-evaluate your insurance policies
Insurance is typically one of those ‘set and forget’ things we do. However, as the years go by, not only do the premiums change, but so too can our situation. Therefore your policy may no longer be most appropriate. Chances are you can easily swap some of your policies and instantly save dollars.
This is also a great time to ensure you have life insurance, income protection, and insurance cover to support you if something were to happen that prevents you from working – for you & your family’s sake!
Action: Get all of your insurance policies out and start ringing around for better premiums and coverage.
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