After years of burying my head in the sand, overspending, engaging in emotional spending, and not really saving very much at all, I finally fixed my relationship with money last year. Here are a few of the ways that I got better with money:
Spreadsheets for Everything
I have spreadsheets coming out of my ears these days. It might not work for you, but it honestly helps me keep track of everything, plus it makes me feel more organised. I have a spreadsheet for money coming in, one for money going out, one for my net worth, and another that’s a list of all of the money I have in total across all of my bank accounts.
So, these days, I know exactly how much money I have – down the the penny. I know exactly what goes out each month and what’s coming in. I no longer bury my head in the sand.
Having these spreadsheets – especially the outgoings one – really helps me to hold myself accountable. I don’t engage in any kind of emotional spending anymore, because I know how much of an impact it can have on my overall wealth now. Seeing that spending in the cold, hard light of day really woke me up to how unhealthy it was, and how it was stopping me from achieving my financial goals.
A few months ago, I finally opened a LISA (Lifetime ISA). Mine’s with Moneybox, as I like how I can easily keep track of it in their app.
LISAs replaced the old Help To Buy ISAs, and they get a government contribution. So, for every four pounds you put in, the government will pop a pound in there for you. It’s a great incentive to save my money into that, because it mounts up far quicker than a traditional savings account or even a cash ISA. The interest rate is also 1.1% at the moment (for your first year, it then drops to 0.85%), and that’s on top of the government contribution of 25%, so it really pays to save into it.
Last year, I read the fantastic Open Up by Alex Holder, and it encouraged me to start having conversations about money.
I now talk very openly with family and friends about finance, and I’ve even been talking about it more here.
I’ve found that being more open about my money has been another way to hold myself accountable, and it’s enabled me to feel less like I’m burying my head in the sand or hiding away from issues. As somebody who always thought that they were ‘bad’ with money, this book really opened my eyes up to the reality that a lot of us feel that way, and how it isn’t necessarily true.
Real Life Money by Clare Seal (@myfrugalyear on Instagram) was another book I read last year that really resonated with me. It made me realise that a lot of my overspending was caused by trying to keep up with the Jones’s on Instagram, and with other bloggers too. Now I’ve stopped doing that, as I’ve realised how pointless and unfulfilling it actually is.
Do you love spreadsheets as much as I do?