Many households across the UK are struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis we find ourselves in. Food and non-alcoholic drinks have jumped in price by a collective 16.8%, the fastest annual rate of increase since 1977 as reported by The Guardian in January of this year (https://www.theguardian.com). The ONS (Office for National Statistics) logged individual goods and services price change over 12 months to December 2022. Milk saw a rise of 46%, gas 128.9%, electric 65.4%, products for pets 16.2% and bottled water 23.3%. The full list of items can be found in The Guardian article.
It is difficult to see when this crisis may end with the economy still recovering from the pandemic, continuous trade disputes and the conflict on the continent. So, it is best practice to prepare yourself for hard times ahead. This article will not tell you how best to save money or silly things like putting £1 in a jar every day for 10 years will help you pay off your mortgage. Instead, this article will look to explore the relationship you as an individual may have with money and how you can change that relationship to suit your lifestyle and savings plan.
The first step in fixing your relationship with money would be recognising if you have a bad relationship with money. If any of these are applicable to you then you may have a negative relationship with money:
Maxing out credit cards.
Avoiding managing your finances.
Refusing to talk about money or seek financial advice.
Disliking or displaying anger towards people who are financially secure.
Being afraid to spend money on even necessities.
Inversely you likely have a good relationship if any of these apply to you:
Having a spending plan or budget for your money.
Feeling good about the money you earn.
Having a savings plan or emergency fund.
Living debt free or actively paying off debt.
Being able to buy luxury items without guilt or worry.
Now that you can see what the top and bottom of the spectrum looks like and have placed your current relationship somewhere on it. It may be useful to understand where your attitudes and opinions towards money have come from. Most likely the biggest influence on you would be your family. We intuitively learn from our parents and a very money strict and tight upbringing may be boring but can teach good money values. Vice versa, a spoilt upbringing can give a person subconscious thought that money is meant to be spent. Whilst both upbringings of course have their pros and cons, specifically talking about the imprint it can have on you growing up it may have unnoticed consequences.
It is also important to take a look at your current environment to see if that is influencing your relationship with money. A social circle that is negative and complains about money constantly will also make you negative. Having a pessimistic attitude towards money will make it difficult to find the motivation and drive to make changes in your relationship with money.
Okay, you have identified where your relationship currently is and how you got there. You are ready to make changes so where do you start. Well, you need a goal. More than just get better with money by certain point. Your goal should be specific to you, it could be have £2000 in savings by the end of your first year or create a plan for essentials that can leave you with £400 spending money at the end of the month. Whatever your plan may be, the importance of creating a plan is that it will keep you focused and driven. A plan is useful because it can used to track your progress against when you started to where you want to be.
You have your goal and maybe a plan to get there. The next useful step would be to seek professional advice. A professional will obviously know more than you, we are always learning, and a professional may give you advice and guidance you may not have previously thought of. You never know it could save you months off your plan.
This article will conclude with the final step and the most important one. That being to start. Change can be scary and in today's economy messing with your money can be risky be if you have the ability to take the risk it is beyond worth it.