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January is a time when many of us are reviewing our finances.  It’s a post-Christmas tradition. 

It starts with an anxious feeling in the pit of our stomach. 

Once we have found the courage to look at our January bank and credit card statements it rapidly spreads through our whole body.

For me it’s a cold, clammy feeling, it’s not nice!

This post-Christmas finance shake-up takes the shine off the New Year; however, I believe there is a positive side to this anxiety. 

It focuses our minds on money. And this, dear reader, (listener for K-A) is how we take back financial control. The benefits include: 

  • Ditching financial anxiety caused by lack of clarity. Otherwise known as “ostrich syndrome”
  • Easily identifying and planning better new year financial goals, and so greatly increasing our chance of success
  • Boosting our confidence. When we take ownership and action, we become more empowered and in control. 

5 tips for successfully managing your finances in the new year

Life and business coaches can support clients with financial goals such as debt management, financial planning etc. They won’t provide specialist financial advice (unless they are a specialist finance coach). What they will do is support you practically to explore, brainstorm, and implement strategies so you reach your financial goals:  which could be to set up a business, travel more, finance a new car etc.  

Here are some practical tips and strategies to help you plan and stay on top of your finances, stay out of debt and manage your money better in 2024:

Set a realistic budget

1.    Start straight away

Don’t put it off. Clarity about your current financial situation is much less stressful than imagining the worst. 

Start by assessing your income versus your outgoings. 

List all your expenses and don’t forget to factor in: 

  • Additional seasonal costs and occasional expenses 
  • List what you are paying to reduce debt/interest
  • Remember to consider putting something aside in your ‘rainy day’ fund, and if you think it’s not possible, read The Richest Man In Babylon, a great, simple quick read that is a financial classic. It will change how you view paying your bills because it starts with the philosophy of paying yourself first, now that’s a novelty for anyone struggling to make ends meet, but it does work!

2. Reduce unnecessary expenses

Review all your extra expenses and don’t forget those direct debit subscriptions/charities you have. Check if they are still in line with your values and needs.

As part of your budgeting, factor in an allowance for celebrations and gifts, just keep things in proportion. Love, friendship and respect are not expressed by the value of gifts!  

Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to wealthier people around you, otherwise, you will find yourself being pressured into living beyond your means. 

3.  Don’t let consumerism get on top of you

The media are very clever at parting you from your hard-earned cash – don’t fall for it.  Real happiness comes from within. When we externalise happiness, success, confidence etc. we can easily fall into the trap of buying stuff to make us feel better. 

Buying something new may make you feel better but it only lasts for a short while, then when you have worn that outfit, or driven that car a few times the novelty soon wears off and the cycle of craving begins again. 

Seek happiness on the inside. Practicing mindfulness, and/or keeping a gratitude journal are just some of the ideas that can help you make that mindset shift.

“Stuff” does not make you happier, healthier or wealthier, but it does make shareholders of shops happier and wealthier!

4.    Cash versus Cards

For some, using cash, or having a separate account with a limited amount of money for day-to-day living helps to keep things real. 

It’s all too easy to lose touch with what you are spending, and get carried away, especially when it’s online.

If you find it difficult to control your spending, set yourself a limit and stick to it. Keep receipts and log what you are spending. 

Keeping track of your spending, day-to-day, and impromptu spending, will help you keep it real and help you avoid stress. 

Some say if you haven’t got the cash, you can’t afford it. If you are paying for things on credit, remind yourself that it’s not yours until it’s paid for!

5.    Review your regular bills

Review your regular bills e.g. energy, insurance etc. Note when the renewal dates are and schedule a reminder. Get new quotes and switch providers if you can save. 

The Money Saving Expert has budgeting advice and a useful planning tool, and it’s free. You can sign up to a newsletter with lots of offers and advice. 

 

Get professional help if you’re in debt and in danger of going under

I’m the first one to admit, we are not always logical when it comes to spending money. Emotions get in the way – much the same as they do with eating habits. This can lead to a pattern of spending that is hard to break. 

We think we deserve it (you know the advert I mean), so why shouldn’t we treat ourselves, everyone else manages to (do they, or is that just the perception they give on social media)?

In the event you do find yourself struggling to control your budget and are getting further into debt, seek professional help. Do not hide it, do not wait, do not deny it. Things only get out of control when we ignore the facts. 

Talking to your bank may not be the best option, instead, seek out professional financial support services such as the Citizen’s Advice who do not have their own agenda to keep you trapped in a cycle of debt.

Life coaches, business coaches, and specialist finance coaches can all potentially help you get back on track by reevaluating your values and habits, and helping you explore where your attitudes to handling money stem from –  so you have a happier healthier relationship with money in the future.  

Protect yourself by making sure you work with an experienced, insured and accredited coach. You can choose someone from the IAPC&M’s directory of accredited coaches and mentors and you’ll find a complimentary e-guide to help you make your choice here.

How do I find a coach or Mentor?

For help, inspiration, guidance and motivation – work with a coach and or mentor and you’ll achieve your goals faster than you would on your own.

  • Choose from our trained, experienced practitioners who are independently and professionally accredited here
  • To help you choose the right coach or mentor, you’ll find this complimentary downloadable e-guide useful