For me, there were some parts of being a Financial Planner that I absolutely loved. I used to get a thrill in helping people find a way to sort out their finances, to have stability in their lives and know that they could become financially positioned to enjoy their lives without having to constantly stress about money. I myself managed to get 20 thousand dollars in debt down to the last $1500 I have left to pay off, and there’s nothing quite so satisfying, in being debt free.
So, even though I am no longer a Financial Planner, I still love finding ways to save money, reduce debt, make up budgets and just all things money and finance. After all, money makes the world go round, and even when living a minimalist lifestyle, you need to have a sensible plan in place, to get to where you will ultimately find happiness.
If you go on Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, dozens of blog pages, everyone has their own concept and idea, of a way to save money.
Whether you follow the 52 week challenge, where you save an amount of money corresponding to what week of the year it is e.g. Week 1 – $1 Week 2 – $2 Week 15 – $15 or you even do it in reverse, where you start off with $52 in the first week of January and work your way down to $1 in the last week of December, or maybe you follow the $1 a day challenge, where you save $1 a day for the whole year. There’s the $5 challenge where you save $5 a week, or there’s the idea of any coins you get given in change, go straight into a piggy bank – the options are endless.
One of the biggest traps that people fall into though, when it comes to managing their finances, is trying to save money, while struggling with debt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a sensible idea to have money set aside, for emergencies and whatever fun thing life decides to throw at you, but if you manage to accumulate some savings and yet you’re drowning in bills and fees and everything keeps building up, you just end up making your situation worse.
In situations like this, it’s important to reach out and talk to the companies or institutions you owe money to. You’d be surprised at just how much a business is willing to help you, if you actually discuss your situation with them. I had run into some financial difficulty when it came to my health fund, and was getting a few hundred dollars behind in my premiums and just couldn’t get the money together to pay it off in a lump sum. So, I pushed myself past the embarrassment, spoke with them, and was able to organise a payment plan to pay it off in instalments. The debt of course kept accumulating, because that’s what happens when it comes to fees, monthly charges, etc. but because I had spoken to them and put a plan in place, and they could see I was making a genuine effort to pay it off, they ended up waiving the remaining debt I had in place – over $300 gone. If I hadn’t spoken to them about it, and just been upfront and honest about my situation, my policy would have ended up cancelled, I would be in more debt and I would have been in an even worse position, if I got sick again and needed to go to hospital – when a standard hospital visit for me costs $7,000 having a policy in place that covers it all except for $250 is VERY important.
In summary, the first step people should consider taking, is actually talking to someone. Get a plan put in place, to manage your debt in the most appropriate manner for you, and take steps in paying it off, even if it’s only $10 a week, because really, something is better than nothing, and the quicker you work on getting that debt paid off, the better you’ll be in the long run.
Not everyone has had the opportunities I have, to learn the things I’ve learnt and find what might work best for them. I hope though, by sharing my personal journey, you will become inspired, to find what works best for you too.
Please note that everything I discuss when it comes to money and finances, is based on my own personal experiences and while this is general advice and information in nature, it does not take into account your own personal experiences and may not be suitable for you. I highly recommend speaking to a licensed Financial Planner, who will be able to give you personal advice, suitable for your own situation.