How to win the war with your wallet

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Do you sometimes feel you are in a battle with your wallet?

You want to be good and not buy that lovely pair of shoes that seems to be calling you into the shop. You know that this week you’ve got a large car bill, from when the car decided it didn’t want to go that cold morning last month and you discovered that it needed a new battery.

The dilemmas of what to do! Do you just say ‘‘Blow it, the shoes can’t wait, I need them!’’, then add them to the other 50 pairs you already have?

Or do you decide to wait and, hopefully, they will still be there next week, after you have cleared the car account?

Do you prioritise your spending, or do you just think ‘‘I’ll have both’’, then put those lovely shoes on to the credit card, then worry about it next month when you have to pay your credit card bill?

These are discussions we all have with ourselves on a daily basis, regardless of our income.

A higher income could just mean the shoes and car might be a trip and a boat.

We all have to make choices on how we spend our money, every single day.

Our role as financial mentors is to help people make good choices, so in the future they will not be going to high-interest lenders or running up the credit card and paying only the minimum each week.

We want people to become confident about their money and learn to plan how to use their money each week or fortnight.

We want people to have good debt, like a mortgage or an interestfree loan, and not be financially stressed each payday. We don’t want people wondering how they are going to pay that large electricity account that just came last week.

We want people to have knowledge and the confidence to create their own budgets and to make choices that are positive for themselves and their families.

Simple things can make a difference. Like setting up a Christmas club card at the local supermarket or department store and paying a weekly amount. When Christmas or a special event like a birthday arrives, you will have money there for presents and food and no extra stress when trying to find money at an already stressful time.

We have a client who puts $5 in each week and adds an additional amount if she has any left over. She has nearly $200 in that account and such a sense of achievement, as she has never been able to do that before.

It doesn’t matter what amount you put away, as long as it is something.

Planning is a key word for financial mentors. If you can plan, you can often get yourself through tough situations.

Plan to have savings, plan to set up automatic payments to pay accounts so when your money comes in it goes straight back out to pay the essentials like rent, electricity, phone and internet.

Plan to put money aside to pay for the car when it needs a new battery.

Plan to have savings so that when the unexpected happens, like the fridge breaks down or you get that speeding ticket going up the hill, some money will be sitting there and you don’t have to stress about how you are going to pay.

So why wait? Get started and plan the best ways you can create good habits. If you need a bit of a hand, then get in touch with us in Community House, 100 Thames St, phone 434-6196.