Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Capturing Confidence - Money

 When I reflected back over the survey results for Capturing Confidence I was surprised to see that some of you mentioned money and finances, but also relieved because actually feeling confident with how I manage my bank account is one of my weak points too!

As it's still January then (but not for long!) I decided to delve right into this for both our sakes and see how we can all get a bit more money confident...

Firstly, start as you mean to go on.

One of my new years intentions is to manage my finances better so we can stay on track and I can treat myself every now and then, plus I have two little girls who will be looking up to me and their dad as examples of how to negotiate the financial landscape of being an adult - eek!

So I've made a very simple plan for myself...


I avoided looking at my bank balance because I knew it wasn't looking how I want it to but because I didn't check it I was over spending, I had no idea what was going in and out and it was all a bit out of control, and if I'm being real with you it's been like this for years...

Now every Monday morning, I have scheduled in time to look at my bank account online so I know exactly what's happening there and on payday I sit and make a monthly and weekly budget, this goes front and centre in my office and I look at it every day to keep me on track. I'm also more conscious and deliberate about having conversations with my husband about money, debt and savings and we have set ourselves some healthier boundaries around spending and have set a yearly goal with a plan to deal with any debt, it's not always a comfortable conversation to have but ignoring it makes more problems.

Now I'm not saying this is exactly how you should do it too, what I'm saying is this, a) I actually have a plan for improvement, and b) I am deliberately setting aside sometime to focus on my finances and these are two small changes you can make as well and you can tailor them to suit your lifestyle.

Just to mention too, that yes I do have days when life goes wrong or my schedule changes and I can't check at the allotted time but I am now mindful to check that balance at least at some point on a Monday because hey, it's about taking charge and some responsibility for bad habits, and in the bigger picture it's about forming some new positive habits around money, this is most certainly the place to start to feeling more money confident.

So now I'm challenging you to make a plan and to take some responsibility for incorporating positive financial changes into your day to day as well as being brave and sitting down and looking at the bigger picture, so what does that look like then?

  • If you share your daily or business finances with someone else set some time aside to have that conversation, go somewhere neutral if it helps and try to keep the conversation more solution focused that blaming each other for any awkward blunders or slip ups.
  • Depending on how many areas of your finances that you want to tackle divide your year up in to halves or quarters and with a jazzy new notebook mark out those sections with colourful pens or sticky tabs and give them a name, for example Jan-March or July-Dec.
  • Take your first section and on the first page write as a sub heading the one thing that is top of your list for tackling money wise and then do a brain dump of all the situations, scenarios, barriers and issues related to it.
  • Now its time to start planning, set aside some time and research various ways you can get support, make changes or do something differently to improve on or make this situation better.
If your stuck for examples here's some inspiration:

- Pop a small notebook in your handbag, write down the cost of every penny you spend.
- Check the rates of your savings accounts, could you switch to a better deal?
- Does your bank offer a packaged bank account option where you pay extra for bonuses? (We are upgrading to one where we get holiday insurance and breakdown cover included).
- Can you switch your credit card to another one that offers interest free rates? 
- Ask your friends to recommend a financial adviser and get some professional support.
- Utilise your phone and download a budgeting app or spending tracker, I like using the Citizen's Advice Bureau budgeting app (only available on IOS as far as I know) and I've heard Mint is a good app if your currency is dollars instead of pounds.
- Set yourself a challenge by getting people to sponsor you to give up buying clothes for a year, a good friend of ours is giving up beer for his favourite charity! Or only buy anything new in the sales or charity shops, see how you good you are at finding a bargain!
- Start using money comparison websites to find the best deals on loans, insurance, credit cards etc or check out government websites for advice and guidance like the Money Advice Service.

My Favourite Money Blogs and Websites

So, whether you're looking to save, budget better or pay off debt or you want to achieve a big financial goal or prepare for the future being money confident is about owning your finances. By facing up to debt or past mistakes you can move forward and free yourself of guilt or insecurities. By being proactive and forming so good, positive financial habits you can stay on track and reach your goals. By being intentional and present with your day to day finances you will feel in control and empowered to make the right decisions with your money and feel more confident.

There's no magic formula here people, money confidence to me is all about taking responsibility in what ever shape or form that suits you and your life, so the next is over to you now, what are you going to do to become more money confident this year?

Fancy finding more confidence in other areas of your life? Then join our Capturing Confidence Facebook community and get support, tips and ideas on growing your confidence and self esteem, and join other like minded women who are embarking on their Capturing Confidence journey too.

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