Net Worth = -$35,944
Total Liabilities = – $20,790.55
Variance from Last Month: $933.54 😊
Firstly, purrrlease forgive the delay in writing this. I have had the pleasure of two sets of loved ones visiting recently and so my attention had rightly been engrossed in sapping them dry of pearls of wisdom, basking in British banter and other such associated mirth. Wonderfully, time spent with friends and family always brings Personal Finance related revelation to throw into the mix. More on that below!
Wins This Month
- Putting My Self Under the Family Magnifying Glass
My little Mum and Bro made the massive trip from Wales to Australia to see me recently. As the first family to visit me here since I emigrated, the trip was a roller coaster of good times, laughs and tears, not to mention deep and meaningful chats. When people have known you through thick and thin, they have an invaluable insight into why you operate the way you do. Sometimes better than any coach, counsellor or psychologist depending on what you’re after. (Though, those guys definitely have a place too believe me!).
Despite money being on the forbidden chat list for any Polite Dinner Party, it touches so many areas of your life and such is likely to come up in one way or another, especially with the #fambam – be it in arguing who should be allowed to pay for food or, tearfully, discussing our own journeys with debt, assets and providing for the family. Mum’s journey for example, has been laiden with sacrifice in order to make the best life for her three kids. Poor decisions, no matter how well intentioned, have sometimes laiden us with years of debt to turf out of too, not to mention the attached emotional fall out. It would be naive to think that seeing these positive and negative examples has not had a huge impact on the decisions I, now a strong independent Man About Town, might make around money. For example, seeing Mum put her life on hold to nurture us has shaped my long term vision to be able to provide for and educate my family financially. A less positive example is that I was reminded how I have always been prone binge when I am stressed – as a child it was any food item within arm’s reach, as an adult it’s likely to be splashing the cash.
So how is this family induced, painful navel gazing helpful? Well, in any battle, you have to know your opponent and when it comes to financial freedom your worst enemy is looking back at you from the mirror. Understand how he/she works and you’ll find your self on the winning side.
Who do you have that can help you understand why you work the way you do? Family? Partner? Trusted professional like a Counsellor/Coach?
Getting that perspective was invaluable for me and I believe it can be for you too.
2.) $100 Golden Hello
Another win has been following some of the Barefoot Steps from our friend Scott Pape (introduced in last month’s post). The same ING Direct account I mentioned to you has paid me a healthy $100 simply for deciding to deposit my salary with them. Now there are lots of banks that would offer you little sweeteners for the $$$$$s of business you bring, but doing a bit of research can really pay dividends – interest rates, no bank charges and incentives like this being just some of what I am loving about these guys. I have so often been led by a convoluted sense of loyalty to the big name institutions in the past, behaving as such however leaving me naive to odd banking charges, confusing credit offerings and quite unfavourable rates.
Take advantage of the competitive market and check out your options (always a good idea to check with an independent professional about these decisions too). Scott Pape was my first port of call so feel free to check him out)
Spins This Month
- Family Time
The flip of having family here is that I spent more than I would normally. It’s a happy trade off however, especially to indulge in some epic, life giving, memories, like the one below. Seemingly silly but they fill your soul up plenty!
So even though I paid less off my liabilities this month, I had planned ahead so any extra funds needed came from my savings and not a credit card. Small victory but significant when I consider the behaviour change this implies around not relying on Mr Cred’s Redi-Money Farce.
2.) Fine, then.
Another, far more painful, spin this month was getting whacked with a hefty fine. On a slightly stressful journey around Sydney’s many one-way streets I ended up running a red light. I bumped over the line when it turned red, panicked when I realised where I was and so sped forward to leave the crossing. Stupid call on my part and cost me three demerit points on the license and a whopping $433 fine. Adding to my guilt, self-flagellation and disappointment was that this money would have otherwise gone to my new savings fund. One step forward, one step back in this Personal Finance cha cha. But life is thus. Saving Grace? Again, I could pay from my emergency fund/savings. If you see a hairy Welshman driving like an extremely cautious Nanna from this point forward, flick me a wave and trust that I am learning my lesson/s!
3.) The Hard Slog
Sometimes it is really disconcerting looking at large numbers when you know you can only assign a comparatively small amount to debt every month. My natural instinct is always to be all or nothing which in this instance could means moving out of my paid accommodation and living off salt and vinegar on toast for 10 months to cover all the costs OR sodding it all and buying my self a cruise around the Pacific Islands. Can you see the thinly veiled closet extremist within me?
One of the key things in turfing your self out of debt, aside from realising how intensely emotional and multi-faceted Personal Finance is, is knowing how you operate. Because I know I have this all or nothing fiery little Welshman within me I ensure I take a few moments when I look at my budget to celebrate some successes, no matter how minor. Like the $4 in banking charges I saved my self through banking with ING – seems insignificant but I have to remind my self that this marathon will be won through a series of daily habits, choices and decisions. Not, as epic as the story would be, packing it all in and living on a Kibbutz with only Meer Kats for company. True Fact.
Until Next Time Finance Fans 😊