February 14th. You either love it or you hate it. As someone who is very much single (yup, I’m working on it!), I’m doing my best to avoid any of those cutesy cafes or classic Valentines’ hotspots, like Paris! Which I’ll be staying far away from. I really don’t need my singlehood to be shoved in my face. No thank you.
What really gets me is just how commercialised this whole thing’s become. I’m already seeing Valentine’s deals and all sorts of related ads on beauty websites! Companies are desperate for us to shop with them and February 14th seems to be the perfect time. Though my good friend did remind me Valentine’s Day is a good time as ever to celebrate the loved ones in your life. So here’s a shout out to my number 1’s – you know who you are. I love you all to the moon and back.
Anyway, let me get to the point for you which is probably why you’re over here reading my stuff in the first place! Because you wanna fall in love with your finances again. You wanna be in control of your finances, not let it control you, like any normal and sane relationship, right? Before we go on – read here why you must talk money before marriage. It’s more important that you realise and not something to overlook.
Whether you’re on your road to finding love or are already in love, I bet you’re not in love with your finances. Maybe they remind you of that awkward first date you had with that sweet guy but wasn’t sure you should go for a 2nd so you ditched him after the 1st. Or maybe your finances are just like that “perfect” guy you fell for (sorry, hun perfect does NOT exist – but if you find it please let me know!) but talked yourself out of it because you were afraid of commitment.
We just love to run away from our finances, don’t we. (Psst: read here for a good place to start – I know it’s a lil’ late for New Year’s resolutions but who says you can’t do ’em in Feb!)
Get your money relationship back on track!
Our relationship with money is just that. A relationship. And like many of us and relationships, we tend to avoid them when it gets ugly. But how will you fall in love unless you get a bit vulnerable, put yourself out there (maybe in reverse order!) and just go for it. Oh, and be prepared to take the good, bad and the ugly. If you can’t stand by your partner on their worst days you don’t deserve to stick around for their best days.
Our finances, just like our love life (well not mine, obvs) take up a huge space of our time, energy and they really do have the power to shift our mood.
So here’s a handy dandy six-step plan of how to fall back in love with your finances! To make your money work for you and all that juicy stuff. Not.
#1 Face your fears
When it comes to our finances, there’s always that 1 thing that scares us. Whether it’s that pile of debt we can’t face or the fact we’ve not yet started investing (psst: it’s never too early or too late), face it. Realising it is the first part to solving it. If you’re struggling with credit cards read how to get back on track here.
The one thing that’s niggling at you, more like yelling “SORT ME OUT!!!” is the one you should give your attention to. The answer might be a combo of 4 different things but pick the one that gives you the most heartache. The one that keeps you up at night. Then work on the rest.
You want to break up this goal into small, bitesize and very-much-edible pieces so that you have success since we get motivated by wins, however small. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you’ve hit a goal.
# 2 Make it work for you
Your finances have gotta work for you. You need to be doing things like investing each month, paying down your debt, saving and so on. But you’ve gotta do it in a way that works for you. Most people end up falling out of love with their finances because it’s just not working for them anymore. But like any good relationship you have to put in effort.
So take some time to jazz up your finances and truly make it your own. It could be you invest as soon as you get paid and then always keep some money aside to splash out on whatever you want or that you need to pay off your debt before anything else or that you need your £5 coffee each day and won’t feel alive without it.
We all have our little quirks. Our finances are meant to give us enjoyment so don’t forget that. Read here why spending properly is more important than you think! And remember, do what works for You and you only.
#3 Your escape plan
Without properly managing our finances, we’ll be stuck all our lives. Stuck in that job we hate, in that crummy apartment with our clapped out car. We’ll be forced to remain static (unless we fall into debt – not that that’s any better!) and there’s no feeling that’s worse than feeling stuck. Being savvy with your finances; living below your means, investing as much as you can and saving even when you don’t need to, that’s how you set yourself free.
And start saving. Save when you don’t need to. If you need tips on how to do that and where to start, read here.
#4 Your get-out-of-jail-free card
Speaking of feeling free, having a stash of cash on the side can – and will – save you from any kind of disaster that will come your way. Okay, not every disaster, but many. And if they can’t save you, they’ll make it easier that’s for sure. So start saving.
Even if you have nothing to save for (yet). Life’s great at throwing us curveballs when we’re last expecting them. Cash means no debt which means freedom. Get more cash. Your future self will save you.
So start setting aside 3-6 months’ of your salary (for starters) and keep this in a savings account. Don’t spend it, don’t invest it. It’s for emergencies only. The kind emergency like losing a job. Read here how to bullet-proof your finances to survive a layoff. May it never happen but you wanna be prepared. It’ll feel less of a betrayal that way. Your finances can literally be Prince Charming coming to rescue you. Don’t underestimate their powers!
#5 Budget for the fun stuff too
I think, part of the reason we get bored and fall outa love with our finances is that we don’t really leave space for us to have some fun. We think that if we’re gonna be a savvy saver we’ve gotta save relentlessly. Budgeting for this, cutting back on that and so on.
But honesty, that’s totally missing the point. You’re supposed to enjoy your money while working hard for your future. The 2 are NOT mutually exclusive. If you don’t get to enjoy your money while working for your goals, it’ll be so much harder to keep your motivation going. Plus, we enjoy our purchases 1000X more when we can’t afford them. It’s the paradox of spending! Curious about it? Read all about it here.
So, time to get your very own account that you just for splurges only! Stash a % of your salary into your spending-only account. This way it’s not affecting your monthly budget (or what goes into your investment account) and quite frankly doesn’t get in anyone’s way!
That way you’ll feel comfy knowing you’ve got some Me-Money. The kind you can use whenever you feel down, or up! The kind that can make your day that bit better. All you gotta do is dip into your spending account.
#6 Look to the future
Last, but by no means the least, look to the future. Don’t be so stuck in your past mistakes and old habits that don’t even allow yourself to move forward. We’ve all made money moves we’re not proud and we’ve all messed up where we shouldn’t. But dare to look ahead. And forgive yourself.
The more you’re able to see what your finances can do for your future, the more you’ll love ‘em. See, money is a tool. Use it well and it will work for you. Fail to do that and it’ll work against you. If you invest your money, that money will grow and grow. Like your very own army of workers. And you get to be the CEO. If that doesn’t make you fall in love I dunno what will.
Anyway, I hope that helped you spark your love for finances. Apologies if it was as bad as that first date you’ll never forget. Something tells me it wasn’t!
Enjoy your Valentine’s plans, whatever those may be. I, for one, will be curled up on the sofa indulging in some romcom. With chocolate. In case you were wondering!
Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment