How To Find Happiness By Taking Control Of Your Finances
Financial freedom and stability has a huge impact on our relationships: with our partners, friends, family, the world around us, and ourselves. When you feel out of control with money, it makes sense that other areas of your life suffer as a result.
The key to having a healthy relationship with your bank account isn’t just about earning more money and striving for a baller lifestyle. Because really, who ever did say that money buys happiness? Taking control of your moolah means having a long frank look at where you are financially. It also means having a think about where you want to go and what financial goals you want to reach. It is easy to forget that we are very much in charge of our spending and how we manage our money.
When it comes to the money you earn, you are in the driver’s seat with full control. So where do you want to take it? Re-gaining financial control is as easy as these four steps:
#1 Write down everything
Yes, it sounds like a boring chore. And it yes, it kind of is. Sometimes it feels as though there is barely enough time to get eight glasses of water in, let alone write down everything that you spend. But, think about it, we monitor everything else in our life, why wouldn’t we monitor our finances as well?
Writing it all down allows you to find your spending patterns and make adjustments accordingly. Think of it as a financial fitness tracker. Spending too much on plastic-wrapped lunch? Or do you frequently buy four pints too many at Friday night drinks? Be vigilant in your tracking and be open to embracing financial changes. You might be confronted by some harsh spending habits you didn’t realise were common and find new ways to curb unnecessary spending.
#2 Schedule your savings to be automatic
It is a nice feeling to see a fat chunk of your wage move straight across into savings before it has a chance to sit in your spending’s account for too long. Not only does it mean less temptation, it also means higher returns.
Once you’ve scheduled your savings to be automatic on pay-day, get savvy about where they sit. You can attach a Westpac eSaver account to your Westpac Choice account and earn 2.51% p.a. as a fixed bonus rate for the first five months and a standard variable rate of 1.05% p.a. thereafter. You guys, this is basically free money. Plus, there is no monthly service fee or minimum deposit or monthly balance, so learn from your mistakes and go forward.
Great interest means more money, and a healthy little nest egg to your name.
#3 Leave your card at home – take only cash
Have a panic attack reading that? Cash can seem like an archaic concept in today’s world, what with Mobile Wallets making the world a better place and online banking being fast and easy to use whilst rewarding us with interest incentives.
The benefit of having a weekly cash-only policy is that it forces you to spend only what you need to and avoid falling into bad habits of over-spending and over-indulging because you’re bored on a Wednesday lunch break.
#4 Plan out the savings you intend on making
Taking control of your spending and tracking your progress can seem like an un-thankful task when you haven’t got a set goal that you are striving towards. Whether you are saving for a dream adventure or a car, or property, or if you want to shout all your mates to smashed avocado on sourdough on a Saturday, make it clear in your mind what you are saving for.
Change the name of your savings account to remind you of your savings goal. This way you’ll be reminded of what you are striving towards each time you move a chunk of your money across. Plus, it could help to stave off any and all temptation.
A sense of power over your money, not the money itself, is said to lead to long term financial happiness. Use these four steps and take back the reins to your financial well-being.
Good financial habits can set you up for life. What more motivation do you need to get started today? Of course, you’ll need a bank account to keep your savings in – so head on over to Westpac and open your Everyday Banking account.
Claire Dalgleish is a freelance writer and art curator who currently lives in Sydney. She woke up like this. You can read more on her blog art/writing/projects and follow her via @art.writing.projects