Being financially fit is a lot like being physically fit. If you don’t have your finances in order it can affect your family, career and your attitude towards life.
Whilst I’m always talking about being financially fit when it comes to your home loan and budgets, it dawned on me that for many people, this topic may seem like the way I would view getting physically fit. That is…. a bit daunting and hard to get started.
So, as a challenge to myself, I’ve decided to venture on a fitness program that will help me better appreciate the change in mindset and commitment that is necessary to embark on either a successful lifestyle change – whether it be of a financial or physical nature.
I’m pleased to report I have made my first steps!! I’ve signed up to a gym! Actually it involved me transferring my husband’s membership at Anytime Fitness to me. He had only signed up a few weeks ago but had not found the motivation to start. (Sound familiar anyone?)
Part of signing up involved scheduling an orientation session to learn how to use the machines and develop a fitness schedule. The team member at Anytime Fitness also suggested that I sign up for a weekly boot camp session!!! (Can you hear me laughing out loud?) I suggested more of the “one step at a time approach”! Sure, boot camp would be a great way to improve my fitness, but I certainly wasn’t in the right mindset to begin anything quite so traumatic straight away (let alone having to treat myself for injuries!) After all, I am looking for a sustainable longer-term approach to my fitness just the way I would advocate a longer term approach to household budgeting.
What I ultimately took away from this period of making the “first steps” was that although I want to begin this fitness challenge, I need to have the right approach towards actually putting words into action.
Similarly, before beginning any financial fitness challenge, you need to get into the right frame of mind. This can be done by taking baby steps (rather than the boot camp approach). As you may know, going cold turkey can have negative repercussions (dieting, smoking, saving money) as you cut out too much too fast and the chances of splurging increases. Just like I have had to take baby steps to starting my fitness program (signing up being my first step), you also need to take baby steps. These could be:
Clean your desk: If you are serious about making a change, you need to have the right environment. This can be done by creating an area in your house just for managing finances. So, when it comes time to create/manage your budget and pay bills,
Get organised: Have you ever forgotten to make a repayment on time just because you misplaced the bill? By creating a filing system with different sections for bills due and bills paid, not only will the house look tidier, but you will also improve your repayment history and avoid extra fines.
Get some help: This does not mean you should go out and pay an accountant to manage all of your finances. There are plenty of phone apps and online tools that can help you manage your finances, so before beginning this journey, it might be helpful to research some of the free tools available to see which would be most useful to you. This step may also improve your attitude towards this program as you can see how easy it can be to manage your money.
This journey is not a sprint, it will take time and effort to reach the end, but once you do reach your financial goals, the payoff will be worth it. Let’s hope I find the same is true as I embark on my own fitness journey!