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Take control of your finances

Money management and our mental well-being go hand-in-hand. If you take control of your finances you’ll feel less stressed and less anxious.

These four exercises will help you get on top of your finances so you can get on with life – do just one or work through all of them over a few weeks to help manage your money, budget better, and ditch unnecessary debt.

Exercise 1: What’s your money personality?

We all have different money personalities. Understanding if you’re a spender, saver, or fall somewhere on the continuum, will help you take control of your money matters.

Take this nifty money personality quiz on Live Sorted or Google ‘find my money personality’ for alternatives.

What parts of your money personality,

  • are totally awesome?
  • need work?

Put your thoughts in a monthly money journal – you could use a notebook or create an online record.

Use your money journal to create lists of what you’ve done with your money in the month.

Exercise 2: Smash that budget

It’s time to drag out the bills, bank accounts, credit card statements and loan repayments to work
out precisely how much money you have, and where it’s going.

Sort your spending into groups, for example, food and groceries in one group, utility bills in another, insurance in another and so on.

You can now prepare a budget using the information you’ve gathered about your spending. Download this budget worksheet to get started. Your budget needs to be realistic and based on your actual spending, not what you think you should spend your money on.

Exercise 3: Find three ways to reduce your bills

Sometimes regular expenses chew away at our bank balance, and we don’t even notice the impact.

    • Find a subscription you can cancel or at least pause e.g. Sky, Netflix, Audible, Spotify, an unused gym membership, apps you don’t use, or a convenient but costly meal delivery service.
    • Check you’re on the cheapest power deal for you. Go to a compare website like to see if another supplier is cheaper. Phone your current supplier and see if you can get a better deal.
    • Check you’re on the best broadband and mobile phone plans. Again, contact your provider and get them to review your account. Are you taking full advantage of the offering of free minutes or texts etc?
    • If you’re a homeowner and think the rateable value of your property, and therefore your rates are too high, contact your local council about getting a revaluation.

Exercise 4: Sharing is caring

When there’s something in your cupboard you no longer wear – could you share it with a friend? The same goes for books, tools, and excess food growing in your garden.

    • Organise swapping items with a friend, neighbour or community group.
    • Go to an op shop/charity shop you’ve never been to and see what you find. You don’t have to buy anything.
    • Significant social occasions like school balls or proms can bring big expenses. Can you borrow, hire or buy a second-hand outfit?

Now that you have a budget in place and understand your finances better, you can take the next step to financial freedom. This could be as simple as saving a small amount each payday for emergencies or for expenses you know are coming later in the year, like Christmas.

For others, the next step may be more complex. You may have recurring debts or loan repayments that now you’ve done your budget, you know you will struggle to meet.

In this case, the first thing to do is contact the person you owe money to and see if you can negotiate a new repayment plan.

If that doesn’t work, contact Debtfix or reach out to your bank, a budget advisor, financial councillor or mentor who will be able to dive deeper into your situation and recommend a solution for you to get ahead.

Whatever you do, do not take out a high-interest loan to pay back your debts – this will only cause more stress in the future.

Learn more

This article was written by Debtfix, a not-for-profit organisation providing FREE debt advice, support and solutions to New Zealanders with problem debt. They provide a safe, private environment to get your debt under control.

Upskills Ltd.

Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979