By Sylvia Juuko
Money evokes very interesting emotions. It can be a source of happiness, as well as stress. Emotions could be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to changing from your current to the desired behaviour regarding managing your personal finances.
Since your attitude towards money determines what kind of decisions you make, it is critical to get a mindset shift, particularly if you are in a financial state that is not desirable.
Researchers have discovered that your family background and values play a big part in how you will view and handle money.
As such, your current behaviour towards money may be traced from as far back as your childhood.
For example, if you are an impulse buyer, it helps to carry out some soul searching to discover if your emotional needs can be traced back to what happened in your childhood.
You may find that your quest to accumulate material possessions is your way of coping with some experiences during your childhood.
Whenever you are in a financial state that is not desirable, assess how the emotions play out.
Do you make poor money choices that ruin your financial well-being as a result of these emotions? Managing emotions behind money is what will determine your financial success or failure.
Remember that whenever you are making a financial choice, there is a trade-off. Having this in mind may help you focus on the fact that deciding to save as opposed to spending on an item that will not appreciate in value is more desirable.
If you are an impulsive shopper, you can opt for a cool-off period before you make that purchase.
I suggest you take a few days or weeks before you make a decision to purchase. You may change your mind when your emotions are under control.
Avoid making decisions when you are sad or anxious. You are more likely to spend if you are feeling low. In most cases, after making purchases with that state of mind, it is more likely that you did not need the purchases.
To help check this, track your cash flow on a daily or weekly basis.
You need to keep records of all your transactions either on your phone or in a notebook. Those that are receipted should be stored where you can easily access them for review.
Taking a hold of your finances and tracking your cash flow on a weekly basis is useful because you are able to relive your expenditure and income against the budget during the week. The beauty with tracking on a regular basis is that if you overspent during a particular week, you can redeem yourself before your money troubles are out of hand.
Another useful area to look at is what your biggest impulse spending is during working hours, whether at your own business or as an employee.
Do you purchase some stuff because your workmates are doing the same? Can you afford these purchases or you are trying to keep up appearances?
For any personal change to occur, you must be willing to delay instant gratification and get out of your comfort zone. For example, if you want to start saving for a future investment, you should be willing to forego a desired amount of money per month to make this happen.
Your ability to stay the course of action and ability to have will-power amid some initial discomfort and turning down invitations to spend to spend is what will set you apart from the rest.
Ultimately, if you can conquer your emotions and instead apply logical thinking whenever you handle money, you will be able to make the changes and improve your financial well-being.
(This article was first published in the New Vision)