While the study looked at the habits of men and women alike, it also found that females are almost three times more likely to experience feelings of guilt about their spending habits. Vanessa Stoykov is a finance and money expert who has recently published her first advice book, The Breakfast Club for 40-Somethings, and she suggests that most negative emotions associated with money come from a lack of knowledge or awareness.
“The fact that such a significant number of Australians feel guilty for spending their own money is frightening. From my experience, most negative emotions associated with money come from lack of awareness,” says Vanessa. “Making payments blindly, without knowing how much is or isn’t in the bank account, is a scary feeling for anyone. No-one wants to feel guilty about spending money, or to be at risk of being unable to afford a comfortable future, but that’s the unfortunate reality for many unless action is taken.”
"Being financially savvy is a skill that can bring an incredible amount of stability and happiness, so it’s important that this is what everyone strives for when they think about their finances, as opposed to running away from it." Vanessa StoykovVanessa Stoykov
Vanessa’s top tips for anyone struggling to take control of their finances are:
- Work out exactly how much debt you’re in. To truly understand your financial situation, you need to be real about what assets you have versus debt and liabilities. Spend some time calculating exactly how much you owe, along with outgoing living costs.
- Calculate and consolidate. While the reality of your financial situation may be scary, not having a plan to move forward is worse. A simple step like consolidating all of your credit cards into one low interest card can make a huge difference when it comes to getting yourself out of credit card debt quicker. Take this step even further and commit to paying off more than the minimum each month.
- Know what you want out of life. If you don’t have a goal, all the advice in the world won’t motivate you. If you know how you want your life to look in the future, strategic decisions are easier to make. For example, if your passion is travelling, can you lower your living costs so you can save more towards your next trip? This mindset will not only stop you from making bad short-term decisions, but it will help you achieve the life you really want.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.
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