The wait is over. What seems to be a never-ending procession of days that demand your financial attention, bills that need to be paid without delay! How do we manage to survive the slog? The endless checking of the calendar to see if we have missed any days out because it is perfectly feasible to think days are added on without your knowledge, making the wait longer!
There you have it. Payday. A day like no other where you feel important as you have money in your account. The work seems to have been worth it, you feel valued and everything seems right in the world. You are now able to rectify the dodgy purchases you made earlier in the month, justify why you bought the brand new Alexa for no apparent reason apart from Billy had one! Spend Spend Spend like Viv Nicholson!
Why is it that the majority of people cannot seem to manage their money? Is it because we overspend continuously, or we over commit? To compromise this, we decide to take out credit in the form of store cards, loans or credit cards and you can guess what happens then. I am not saying that everyone finds money management difficult, but nobody I know seems to have any money whether it be when they get paid, just after or throughout the month (from their wages).
From the starting whistle at the beginning of payday through to the last penny accounted for, we are faster at spending money than water goes down the plug hole during a shower. The human ‘necessity’ to want, acquire or need things is fed by a ‘consumer spending frenzy’, supported by clever marketing by the major players in the market – we are all guilty of this at some stage.
The effect it has on me on a personal level is one of sadness and anger. Why do I find it difficult to control the money I earn from the job I do? The weight of expectation to pay everything on time and never seem to have what you need is always with me. It saddens me, and it encourages a spike in my mindset, and not in a good way.
Once payday is reached, we seem to rush out to the nearest bar or restaurant and become the sole provider of food and drink. No matter what the cost is, it doesn’t matter – I have been paid and I am loaded! The drinks flow and the food is consumed, we laugh, joke and fool around and even go to the cashpoint again because we can – we’ve just been paid! When in the barman receives your monies (with tips), grateful as they are, I will guarantee that they would rather not be in your position. When you think about it, it’s easy to spend (if you live in Liverpool, UK), around £3.50 per pint of lager, numerous times and then go to the cashpoint, taxi home and then spend the next day in bed with a hangover. Maybe £150 lighter, no bills paid but hey, it was worth it!?
How can we help?
I think the first thing to do is realise that you are the only person who can help. An old cliche, I know, but if you think that living payday to payday is working, then think again. There are many ways we can tackle the issue and can include the following items:
If you can see what has happened in the past then you can alter the future. Your spending habits are not set in stone, are they? Look at what you’re spending over the course of the month and decide whether you actually need to buy. It will probably give you an idea of where your habits lie.
Planning is probably more important than we realise. We all feel as though we have got it all under control but have we really? I haven’t, and it is something that I have to learn too.
Prioritise the outgoings
Following on from above, putting the outgoings in order of importance may be an idea to incorporate. The obvious such as rent/mortgage comes first, alongside the utility bills that are needed to be paid too. The rest you can pay with whats left but bear in mind, that the creditors are wanting to help you if you are struggling in any way shape or form. Have a look at Maslow’s theory and also the diagram below – it may help?
Cut back on spending
When I look at my spending, it can include a £5 lottery scratch card, coffee at Starbucks, £4 magazines and sandwiches from the local shop. In one day, it can at times cost me £15 to ‘enjoy’ my day. Really? £15 * 5 days is a lot of money across the month. Three hundred pounds before a bill has been paid.
Use actual money instead of cards
Using a card is so easy – easy enough to assume that the money won’t run out as it doesn’t feel real when the cards’ used. What if you budgeted a weekly amount that you have to manage with? How bad would that be? My proposal would be to use what is at home for your lunch, read online subscriptions as a lot of them can be free (just as an example). Maybe £5 per day for spends which is considerably lower than the £300 quid that I can sometimes use across the month!
Don’t be anyone else
Social media can be brilliant but also a nightmare if you compare yourself to everyone else on there. Be you, and you only. Work with what you’ve got and if you want more, then look at ways to make more money so you are always living ‘within your means’.
What is the stumbling block for you learning about money? Is it pride, manliness or just ignorance? Whatever we think about it, money is important. Learn about the various ways you can make extra money. Be careful in what you choose as there are many schemes that will use your work for their own gain, and not yours. I like to do surveys and also work for a company called Appen where you can get paid for working at home. Give them a try.
If you’re struggling – stop. Get help and talk to the people you owe money to. Don’t be worried about this as they want to help. The last thing they want is to lose money they have lent to you, so they will be help you to manage it properly.
What’s the worse thing that can happen? If you do nothing and remain the same way, it may well be OK, but more likely, it will hinder you. If you tackle this head-on, it will empower you to take control of your finances and come out the other side in a better position going forward.
Remember this – look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.
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