16th November 2016 at 5:56pm
What does the money you make mean to you?
Is it just a number? Just a bank balance? Just a means to an end? Simply something that goes in and out of your account without much thought?
Or is it something you work hard for, something you need to survive, that will allow you to reach those goals of having a home to call your own or travelling the world. And something that will ultimately make all of your future plans possible?
Is your bank account just a number?
Admittedly, up until a couple of years ago, money was something I simply did not have enough of and was just a number I winced at when looking at the ATM machine. I didn’t really think about where it came from or how I spent it, nor did I think about any future financial goals. To me money was simply a thing that I could not control and to be completely honest, nor did I want to.
I was never in debt, but I never had excess money either. I was in a strange middle ground with money. Sure, I wanted more of it, who doesn’t? But I had no idea how to make that happen, no idea how to feel passionate about my pay.
Emotional ties with money
Perhaps this was because I had a very small salary, after all I was a recent graduate trying to find a full time job. Or perhaps this was because I had no direct emotional ties with my money? I have come to realise the latter was true.
For me, I came to care about the money I was making in recent years because of my career choice. I started work in the world of financial services and you really can’t ignore how beneficial saving and money management can be when you’re around it constantly. I found the idea of caring so much about money fascinating as I never had much of a knack for it before.
My views changed on money because of my career choice
I have learnt along the way to save as much as I can and to really care about my money. But it got me thinking, if other people are struggling to get interested in their income how can they change that? How can they come to care and take control?
The humanising your money concept
This is where the idea of humanising your money can make all the difference. As Michael F Kay explains;
‘The idea of humanizing of money refers to making choices based on values, knowledge, consideration and active involvement.’
And so, what if you actually sat down and looked at your spending habits? What if you delved in to your pay packet and considered where your money goes and what if you took control of your spending and savings?
There are number of steps to take in order to humanise your money as Michael F Kay explains;
1. ‘Begin with what you value most in life and write down your top three goals based on those values.’
Visualising what you want in your life is a great way of making your money more personal.
Visualise what you want in life
For me, acknowledging that I wanted to get on the property ladder made a huge difference. It may sound obvious but once you know what you want you can see how important managing your money is in order to get it.
2. ’Examine your spending patterns; the where, when and, most importantly, the why.’
Knowing where your money is being spent is half the battle and it can be a real eye opener. Seeing where your money goes can rid you of those rose tinted glasses and you can see what you’re spending your hard earned cash on.
Understand where and how you spend
3.‘Create an overlay of your spending decisions with your goals and identify the low-value spending that takes you further away from achieving your most important objectives.’
This is a great exercise as it allows you to take full control of your spending and cut your costs.
YOU get to decide which spends to stop, no one else. Being directly responsible in this way gets you emotionally involved and will make it harder for you to fall off the wagon.
4. ‘Slow down the process. Agree to discuss purchases over a specific dollar amount with your spouse/partner/stakeholder.
Agree to delay all buying decisions until after an agreed-upon “cooling off” period. Creating space between the “See it. Want it. Buy it.” is essential to shifting your habits.’
Try a ‘cooling off’ period before you make a purchase
This is a very effective trick and can really put a stop to those splurging urges. But if you would like to try even more tips and tricks to curb spending take a look at our recent blog ‘How to nurture your new saving habits and cut the cravings’.
5. ‘Actively track the changes weekly.
Until you get into the habit, the more often you monitor the better. After you’ve achieved greater control, you can move it to monthly.’
This may sound tricky, and it can be if you go it alone.
The best way I’ve found to do this is to let technology help. Take a look at our blog ‘Mobile apps – a smart way to manage your finances’ which suggests some great solutions to get you started.
6. ‘Capture the savings and apply them directly to your goals.
It might be wealth accumulation or debt elimination or both, but by actively taking the funds you save as a result of making better decisions and applying them to your objectives, you leave the realm of considering and enter the realm of doing.’
Apply saved funds to your objectives
This final tip is one which will really cement your emotional involvement with your money and will truly humanise it. By using your savings to reach your goals you will see first-hand what you can achieve when you get hands on with your money.
And so, if you follow these 6 easy steps you will be well on your way to actually caring about your money. This will make you think of your money as less of a number and more of a catalyst for you to achieve your goals.