Cold, gray, sometimes unforgiving.
We all have been there before and it is a normal feeling since winter does affect a lot on our state of mind. Maybe you are having a hard time getting out of bed, concentrating or you might not want to leave the house.
If this is happening to you, there are a lot of ways that can help you build yourself back up again. We recommend you get more information on SAD, which is a Seasonal Affective Disorder very common at this time of the year. And , us being us, we suggest a financial approach to give you a peace of mind as well as give you a goal to look forward to...
Disclaimer: be sure to notice if you show other stronger and longer-lasting signs (sleeping too much, overeating, constant fatigue…) check with your doctor.
Take action. Right now.
So you are just sitting on the couch the only way to approach a change is just to move.
It’s Newton’s First Law of Motion (simplified, of course) - whatever is static tends to be static, whatever is moving tends to move.
Wherever you are right now, deciding to tackle your financial situation and doing something - anything - about it, can have a great effect and inject you some energy to get that lethargy shaking.
Think baby steps - what can you do at this very moment? Go ahead and think about it, we’ll still be here.
Do you have it? Let’s move on!
What does a win look like?
How do you know you have won? What does financial health (or health, for that manner) mean to you at this point in life?
You could be striving for a whole lot of things, like:
- Paying off your credit card debt
- Saving for a down-payment on your dream house
- Getting that higher-paying job
- Cutting the fat out of your expenses
- Growing your side-business
- Setting up that emergency fund (All Things Finance wrote a nice piece on how to use Iban for this)
This is the time to think big and get excited! If you can find goals that resonate with you and allow you to have fun, your chances of success will be much higher.
But since you can’t be all dreams, you also have to:
Measure, measure, measure
By now it should be clear what your goals are and where you want to be financially.
But do you know where you stand right now?
Do you have a clear picture of your monthly cash flow? Of what your biggest expenses are?
This may seem a bit scary at first, and many people avoid looking into their current situation, but it is essential to bridge it with your goals.
Moreover, no matter what the situation is, there is a sense of control that comes with this knowledge. Own it.
Be sure to take a good look at your goals and try to spot any conflicts.
If you set yourself to pay off your credit card debt and build towards buying a house, it is probably a good move to address your debt first, not only to get a better rate, but also to avoid the interest from eating into your savings.
Beware of the false Gods of winter sales (but allow yourself to enjoy them)
A favorite sport of many, shopping the sales has also been viewed as a nice way to get your mood up (retail therapy, some call it).
After all, you are getting all those discounts in. “It’s not only fun, it’s financially responsible”, you may think.
Shall we look into that: if you had bought these 3 items, how much would you have saved?
Answer: you would have spent €415.
There is no way around it. Spending is spending, no matter how you cut it.
You can always enjoy some bargain hunting, just keep your plan in mind. And remember to allow yourself to have fun, otherwise it can all crash.
So remember: start, dream, measure, save.
That is the bottomline of it all: for you to control your finances, not to let them control you.