Can we get real for a second? We need to talk… About a topic that will maybe make you hella uncomfortable. I know it made me cringe.
Let’s talk about money or what I call, financial fitness.
I don’t know about you, but my attitude towards money was always ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
But then meeting Riley, buying a house, getting engaged and planning my dream (while finishing our backyard at the same time), my relationship with money had to change.
Now I can see why having a healthy relationship with money is, well… super important. I’m also realizing how much money impacts your mental health. Seriously.
I’m not the only person on the planet who’s ever avoided thinking about money. Most of us have difficult relationships with this stuff.
Often we’re not earning what we want to be, or we’re concerned about debt, or we lust after a particular new purchase, but we’re not sure if we can afford it. Or we’re afraid of what we might find if we check our credit card bills or bank statements.
So we just try to ignore it.
This was my default reaction to money. I didn’t want to know. It was scary. And boring. And stressful. Just the thought of checking my bank balance was enough to send my stress-levels soaring. I’d get anxious and panicky.
But when Riley persuaded me to be brave, connect with my money situation, and learn to manage my money better I realised that quite the opposite was true.
Becoming more mindful of my finances and taking control wasn’t stressful.
It was empowering, it was transformative, and it was fun! I love to organize, and money became another thing I could spreadsheet this shit out of.
How we’re working on our financial fitness now
Once I’d been brave and taken time to understood where we were at financially, I could forwards faster towards my ideal life with Riley, make savvy spending decisions and start relieving some of my anxiety about money.
Here are three tricks that Riley and I are currently using to better manage our money:
1. We avoid getting drinks at coffee shops
If there’s just one tiny financial hack I recommend you do RIGHT NOW it’s this.
Stop buying those ridiculously overpriced, fancy coffees at places like Starbucks and other coffee chains. It will save you a shocking amount of money.
Yes, I know these drinks are super-convenient, oh-so tempting and they taste sooo good but their over-inflated cost soon adds up. Even if you’re foregoing the fancy stuff like a Salted Caramel Mocha and going for a simple Caffe Latte, you’ll be looking at $4.65 for every cup.
Get one of these per week and you’re hitting $32.55 per week. And over a year, that adds up to a massive $1692.60! That’s enough for a trip someplace sunny or a downpayment on a new car! Times that by the two of us and… yah, that’s a shit ton of money!
Instead get your caffeine fix at home and save yourself a ton of money.
#2. We decided who would be in charge of the finances
When Riley and I got serious, we soon realised that we needed to get clever with how we managed our money.
Because as you’ve heard, I was USELESS with the stuff. Bills could easily get forgotten, I’d lose track of where we were at financially and I’d forget to even check. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
One day, when I was feeling particularly stressed and anxious, Riley and I sat down and we discussed how we could make life easier. We decided that he should take charge of the bills. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done!
Now he sorts everything out and regularly updates me with what is going on, completely stress-free. Yay!
Obviously if you don’t have a person in your life who can do this, there are plenty of systems out there that can help you better manage your money, whether it be software or even your own bank. In Alberta, Servus Credit Union is huuuuuuge about financial fitness and offers many services and resources that help you manage your money.
3. We make time to talk about finances
For the longest time, I’d avoid talking about money because it was dull and boring. It felt awkward and embarrassing. And I’d rather be doing anything else in the world!
But these days, I’ll quite happily discuss my finances, because I’ve seen how much it benefits my mental health, reduces my stress levels and helps me take back control of your life.
Riley and I make an effort to go through our finances at least once a month together so we can know exactly where we’re at. It’s also a great way to get cosy, snuggle and plan for the future. Exciting!
So if you’re like I used to be, and the thought of financial planning makes you start shaking with nerves or roll your eyes, it’s time to be brave.
Understand where you’re at, take sensible steps to control your spending and take control of your money.
I promise that you’ll reduce your stress levels (even if it’s not great news) and feel empowered by the experience.