As a financial coach, I know that our relationship with money can be complex, stressful and even damaging.
That's why it's so important that we work to make it as healthy as possible, so we can get rid of the stress and awkwardness that surrounds it.
With that being said, here are my best tips for getting on the right path and starting to repair your relationship with money so you can live in blissful harmony together.
Remember that money is just a resource
Money triggers strong reactions in most of us:
Maybe you dislike rich people.
Maybe you buy into the myth that suffering for your art is important and that wealthy creatives have "sold out".
Maybe you grew up in a household where money was tight so you're extremely frugal or constantly buying stuff to make yourself feel better.
Maybe your parents are bad with money, so you think you have to be, too.
Whatever your perceived thoughts and feelings about money, there's one thing you need to remember:
It's just a resource we can exchange for a more comfortable life.
Don't attach emotions to it, money doesn't have emotions. It's just a thing that you can trade for more things.
Find out where your money is actually going
Do you ever look at your depleted bank account and wonder where the hell all your money has disappeared to?
Or worse, do you resist checking your bank balance for fear of what it might say? I used to.
If you want to have a good relationship with money, you need to find out what you're doing with it.
So I'd recommend downloading my spending tracker and recording everything that you buy for the next week, so you can see exactly where your dough is going - you might be surprised!
Work out what your habits and feelings are when it comes to money.
After tracking your money, can you see any patterns forming? Did anything surprise you?
Get a notebook and write down some things you've done with money in the past that have made you feel uncomfortable, upset or annoyed with yourself. For example, do you get a bit spendy when you're sad, or do you keep paying off your credit card and then maxing it out again?
And while you're doodling, think about how you feel about money and any issues you've had with it in the past - including your situation growing up and how it made you feel, and the attitudes towards money you grew up with. It doesn't have to be negative, just write down any thoughts you have on the subject of finances.
When I take on a new coaching client, I ask them to fill in a questionnaire which contains a series of statements about money, e.g. "I feel uncomfortable sending invoices to clients and asking for payment" and they tick whether that sounds like them or not.
It's a real eye-opener, because until you face your feelings around money, you can't work on them. Sometimes you don't notice a certain fear or action until you're confronted with it.
Connect your spending habits with your thoughts and history with money and you'll start to see that it's all linked.
Set yourself some goals
Now that you've got an idea of your money habits and your current relationship with money, we can start working on improving things and getting a little love in this relationship!
Set yourself three types of goal (remember to keep them SMART!):
Change your spending habits
I'm not gonna tell you to stop making frivolous purchases, that isn't how I work. But if there's anything you continuously spend money on that you aren't happy with, see if you can cut down or even get rid of it.
If you spend lots of money on food and resent it, see if you can cut down by ordering online, planning your meals in advance so you aren't in Tesco every night and shopping in cheaper supermarkets.
Alternatively, you might have found that you're extremely frugal and don't enjoy money - in that case, I challenge you to buy something that's purely for your enjoyment.
Work on your money mindset
What did you find out about your history and feelings about finance? Is there anything you need to resolve?
If you catch yourself thinking unhelpful thoughts - like "I'm crap with money" or "I'm already in debt so one more thing won't hurt" - stop yourself in your tracks and rationalise with yourself. What evidence do you have to believe it? Is it coming from a reasonable, logical thought or an instinctive feeling? Did anything trigger this, like an argument or a bad day at work?
Once you learn to recognise these unhelpful thoughts and what triggers them, you'll find it much easier to dispel them.
Set a goal to help your business financially
Do one thing today to help your business move forward financially.
Catch up on bookkeeping, or set aside some time to start preparing for your tax return. Chase up an invoice payment or check your prices to see if they are in line with your brand.
If you have a specific goal already which concerns your finances, clarify and take action.
Maybe your business is currently a side hustle that you want to take full time. Work out when you want to achieve this by and how much money you'll need to save to be able to do that and how much you'll need to put aside each month. Now that you know where your money's going, you can see where you can make room in your budget. Start making steps towards that goal today.
Let it go
Once you've set your goals, focus on working towards them, but try not to worry or stress out too much. As it's taken me far too long to learn, worrying about something won't improve the situation.
Just recognise your feelings and work on your goals, and you'll find that your relationship with money will start to become a postive, healthy one.
Have you worked on your relationship with money, or are you going to start? Let me know in the comments!
It’s time to swap money stress for financial empowerment.
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