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This is a guest post by Jackie Stewart. Jackie runs a social enterprise called Funancial Training and helps people to take control of their finances by teaching simple money management techniques in a friendly, fun and relatable way. Find out more at www.funancialtraining.com.

So, what’s your relationship with your money?

As someone who educates people on managing their business and personal finances, some common reactions I get to this question are, “I don’t have enough of it,” “I’m already in a relationship,” or “What type of question is that?”

Then there’s the more serious question about whether someone was ever taught about managing money, to which I repeatedly get a, “No” in response. For a lot of people, money has been a cause of stress and ill health. It’s important, but like the following quote regarding our mind says, “You either control it, or it controls you”.

Know what you’re spending

In relation to money, my saying is, ‘You either chase it, or it chases you’.

So how do we control money, or rather, what are the steps we should take to manage it? It might not sound like much fun, but a simple first step, guaranteed to work and make a huge difference to your finances, is to create a visual budget.

I mean a budget on paper, a laptop, an app, or on a computer. No matter how good your memory, your budget shouldn’t be kept in your head because seeing your finances in black and white (or colour) makes such a difference.

Getting started

Start by making a note of your income and then, over a period of say a month, keep a record of everything you spend. I say record because what you think you spend, and what you actually spend, can be very different. This is why it’s important to track them.

Big payments, like your mortgage or rent are easier to track as they’re expenses that remain the same for a long period of time – unless you’re a nomad, of course. To help with this, here’s a quick tip; get into the habit of asking for a receipt every time you spend money.

You may be spot on with your estimations, but experience tells me that you’re more likely to be way out!

“Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

A budget is a useful planning tool that can help you with:

• Saving for things that you’d like to do or have,
• Having enough money to cover your monthly bills, and
• Getting out of debt.

Financial expert and author Dave Ramsey said, “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” A visual budget will help you with telling your money where to go.

But most importantly, your budget will help you to see where you need to take action either to reduce your expenses, or think outside the box and use your gifts and talents creatively, to increase your income.

So having looked at some simple steps to managing your money better, what do you need to do to improve the relationship you have with your money?

This is a guest post by Jackie Stewart. Jackie runs a social enterprise called Funancial Training and helps people to take control of their finances by teaching simple money management techniques in a friendly, fun and relatable way. Find out more at www.funancialtraining.com.

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