Today I read an article about research published by the CIPD that 1 in 4 employees experience stress due to financial concerns and this affects their performance and productivity at work.
This then asks the question, what can employers do to help? However, what I have found after over 15 years working in HR and 5 years having my own business working one to one with clients, there is only ever one person who can help resolve problems of any nature and that is YOU.
What action can you take to take control of your finances and take back your power?
KNOW YOUR INCOME
How much money comes into the household each month? That can be all contributions from earnings, benefits, rebates etc.
KNOW YOUR OUTGOINGS
How much money do you spend each month and where do you spend it?
To really begin to take control of your finances, you have to be able to account for every penny that is spent, be it on bills, travel, food, socialising, clothes. This way you can look at if you can make any reductions but also you will have a realistic view of what is going in and out and on what.
MINUS OUTGOINGS FROM INCOME
Whilst we all sometimes have months where we spend a little extra. If you are consistently doing this then you will fall into debt and continue to spiral into it.
You want this amount to be zero or in credit, otherwise the stress and bills can grow.
REVIEW YOUR SPENDING
What is sometimes required is just a reality check of what you are spending and where.
Using tools such as Mint or Pennies or even have your own spreadsheet. This helps to itemise all your spending and shows you the cumulative effect of each purchase.
If you smoke or drink, it shows you how much you are spending monthly. Whilst one packet of cigarettes doesn’t seem much, when you add that up to a daily, weekly or monthly amount, the figures can cause a sharp intake of breathe.
- Live within your means. Effectively, don’t be spending more than you are earning. That is the simplest way to stay stress free.
- Get the best tariffs on energy deals, phone packages, even removing packges such as sky etc.
- Have the best rates on loans / mortgages / credit cards.
- Know your credit limits and stick within them ensuring you are not incurring unnecessary bank charges which further increases debt.
- Food shop efficiently. Reduce or stop eating out, having convenience foods, shopping in Waitrose when you need to be going to Aldi or Lidl.
- Take lunch into work instead of buying it daily. Skip the costa and starbucks coffee and make your own. Can you cycle to work instead of taking the tube or can you car share with someone to bring the costs down.
- Start a savings jar with small amounts of money so you can see how easy it is to gain money rather than spend it.
- Start to pay off your debts. Go for a quick win first, so look at the credit card with the smallest amount on it and look to clear this first. Then look at those with the highest interest rates and clear those. You will need to be paying more than the minimum amount to be able to pay the debts off but wih the savings you are making and the reduction in spending, you can use this extra income to clear the debts.
- Take consistent and persistent action.
- Begin to notice your spending habits and what causes you to spend and want to excess in the first place.
- Look at your money mindset and what you tell yourself about money, spending and wealth.
- Remember small steps no matter how small lead to big changes over time.
One way to ensure that you can clear your debts or if you insist keep up your spending habits is actually to bring in more income. Yes shocking though it may sound. If you don’t want to change your lifestyle then your income needs to reflect the lifestyle you desire.
Options for this can include getting a payrise, taking an extra job, having a business on the side, making financial investments that generate income.