Monday mornings are always tough. You pull up at your desk, and wonder why you’re still tired despite having two days off. Or perhaps you’re already planning how to spend your next weekend, with floods of text messages and only five days to get through.
Or perhaps you’re happy to be up on a Monday morning. The sun is shining, there’s work to do and you’re in the right place at the right time.
The difference to our quality of life between thriving and surviving is astounding, and a lot of it has to do with the quality of our personal finance behaviours. By changing our financial behaviours, we have the opportunity to be ahead of the ball, to prepare for changes in our financial situation and take up opportunities when they’re presented to us. This not only allows us to thrive financially but in all aspects of our lives.
So are you surviving or thriving? Here’s a checklist to help you work it out, and some suggestions as to how to change to the thrivin’ kind.
When Your Car Breaks, You…
a) Sob by the side of the road
b) Take it to a mechanics and rely on your credit card for groceries
c) Use emergency savings or money set aside for house and car repairs.
Obviously, everyone wants to be the latter. The biggest difference between thriving and surviving is the ability to deal with the unexpected, without causing a lot of financial grief. An emergency fund is the best way to provide a financial buffer, but it’s also helpful to set aside a little bit of money on a weekly basis for repairs. We all know they’re going to happen sooner or later, so it’s best to have the money ready.
When Your Pay Comes In, You…
a) Pay off your credit card, friends, flatmate and allocate a budget of $40 for the week
b) Move it all into savings immediately, and starve for 6 days
c) Automatically deduct some to savings and debt repayment, leaving enough for the rest of the week.
The definition of financially thriving doesn’t include stringent and unsustainable savings, or staying home 7 nights a week. Financially thriving includes the idea that you can afford some luxuries, while still maintaining a solid financial base. If your pay is gone from your bank account within a couple of days, you’re stretching yourself too thin. Re-evaluate your budget- perhaps you can make some extra space within expenditure, or maybe you need to relax your savings schedule for a while.
When Your Credit Card Statement Comes In, You…
a) Hide it in the freezer
b) Look and despair, eventually making the monthly minimum repayment
c) Work out some changes to your budget for the next couple of months to improve your repayment
How we use credit cards is a pretty good indication of our overall financial wellbeing. For instance, using a credit card for groceries is usually an indication your finances are stretched. Paying back your credit card at minimum monthly repayments is another sign of surviving, as opposed to thriving. Debt can be one of the biggest detractors from your financial wellbeing so- to thrive- look at getting yourself out of debt as quickly and sustainably as possible.