At this time of year when so many of us have been thinking about our plans and expectations for the year – I would like to challenge you to think about raising the bar when it comes to your finances.
If you have been spending more than you earn and increasing your debt – I am challenging you to save $20 out of your pay and pay it off your debt. Let’s call you group one.
If you have been breaking even – so not spending more than you earn but not spending less – I am challenging you to save $50 out of each pay. Let’s call you group two.
For all you savers out there. You make your money cover all your regular expenses and you save for your holidays, you save for Christmas etc. – I am challenging you to save an extra $1,000 per year. let’s call you group three.
Why? Because so often we settle for what we have always done when realistically we could do so much better. If we don’t challenge ourselves every now and then -we can become sloppy.
I personally set a challenge every now and again – usually when I have worked with a client to get their finances under control – planning to pay something off their debt and putting away in advance , savings for their upcoming bills etc. When they first start to turn things around it can often feel so tight and their food budgets will often end up being challenged. So to help them feel like they are not walking the journey alone – I will often set my food budget to match theirs and I will check in with them every now and then to encourage them with how I am coping and what I have done to make the food money go further.
The result of such a challenge always gets my creativity flowing and I become very conscious of every bit of food in my refrigerator – from the jars of pickles and spreads right down to the left-overs and limp vegetables. Nothing gets tossed in the bin at the end of the week without careful consideration of what it can be used for. Consequently all of the limp vegetables get put into a soup or a pasta dish and all of the leftovers either get used for a badly co-ordinated smorgasbord for one night’s dinner or if it is suitable it gets repurposed into a pie.
Similarly, everything in my pantry or freezer is carefully noted so that I learn to make use of every ingredient. This can be quite interesting. I remember one evening my daughters were craving chocolate and I did not want to have to go to the shop and use any of the shopping money that I was carefully protecting. So I got them to go to the pantry to see what they could find. It was a lot of fun as each one of them came up with an idea and before the hour was up we were sitting down to a delicious chocolate self saucing pudding served hot with ice cream – YUM!!
Do you start to see the picture. When we have a restriction placed on us – either as a result of an external force or if we decide to step up and save for something out of the ordinary, it is usually necessary to change our present spending habits and the result is we realise that we could be doing a lot better than we have been.
Now back to those challenges:
Group 1 – if you save $20 out of every pay – you will have paid $520.00 off your debt in 12 months – that’s if you get paid fortnightly. If you get paid weekly, your debt will have reduced by $1,040.00
Group 2 – if you save $50 out of every pay and you get paid fortnightly- you will have saved $1,300.00 in 12 months. If you get paid weekly, you will have saved $2,600.00
Group 3 – if you save $40 out of every fortnightly pay – you will have just over $1,000.00 in 12 months. If you get paid weekly, you only have to find just under $20.
So who is with me?
Are you ready to challenge your financial norm?