You’ve stumbled bleary eyed into the New Year with what seems like a month-long hangover, a fistful of bills and a maxed credit card.
The dollars have vanished like fairy dust amid a whirl of frivolous spending and yep, you’re stone cold broke (and sober). Along with other totally random New Year’s resolutions, it’s time for a self-administered reality booty kick.
So how can you negotiate your way back into Cashed Up Land and nail those financial goals?
Get in touch with your inner Santa
OK, so the Big Man’s been and gone but his scaring-little-kids-into-behaving tactic of ‘making a list and checking it twice’ does have merit.
You need to take a brutal look at your spending (gasp) and be prepared to make some sacrifices (immediate armpit deluge).
Get in touch with your inner bean counter and create a budget. There are heaps of apps out there (like Pocketbook) that can help and yep, it’s anal, but pre-empting bills and curbing spending can be a somewhat satisfying slap in the face and a powerful motivator for positive action.
Cue overly zealous motivational speaker.
Stashing cash under the mattress is not a savings plan
If you don’t have a savings account, it’s time to pulverise that virtual piggy bank and start one. Research high interest accounts (be wary of the blood-sucking Big Banks) and you’ll be surprised at how quickly even minuscule amounts you stash away can add up.
And because your deposits are being sneakily pilfered, you won’t even notice (much). Direct debits are also great for bills, because once the boring must-pay stuff’s out of the way, the rest is yours to burn baby.
Give yourself credit
Actually don’t. Credit cards are evil. E.V.I.L. The warm fuzzies you get when handing over plastic can quickly turn into financial fatality.
That’s because it’s not cash and it’s not yours. And not only will you owe what you spend, you’ll be charged a steaming turd load of interest for the convenience, especially if you’re not making due date repayments.
Banks love credit because they seduce you into believing they are lovely, generous institutions here to assist you. As they are screwing you. Grab the nearest pair of scissors by the non-pointy end and CUT THAT SHIT UP.
Stop kidding yourself (debt’s not funny)
Do you know if you indulge in one coffee a day at $3.50 a pop (and that’s the cheap stuff), you’re forking out more than $900 a year on getting buzzed? You could buy a new MacBook with that (jokes).
I’m not suggesting you become a completely nutty cold turkey-er, but think about where your cash is going and how you could smarten up your spending.
Try swapping that gym membership for buddy-training or cook your own meals at home instead of gorging on fat-laden takeaways and spending a fortune on eating out at the latest brekky haunt.
Lay off the grog for a few (more) nights a week or if renting, consider downsizing or relocating to a crappier part of town (crappy is the new cool).
Your fiscal future
Sounds tossy, but it’s all about future planning. You may very well yawn, but if most of us treated our finances with the fervor we’d plan a road trip to Splendour or a cocktail-fuelled soiree in Thailand, we could all retire by 30.
Get organised, set goals and make 2016 The Year You Get Your Financial Shit Together.
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