Money | Steps to take control of your finances

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Checking your account after you made a big splurge or resisting the temptation to buy your morning coffee is not really taking control of your finances. We look at the things that you should do to finally get on track.

As a new year descends upon us, many will promise to make 2016 the year that you will finally take control of your finances. No more impulse purchasing, no more payday treats and saving every last cent. By February, as with many of our New Year resolutions, we tend to slip back into our old and bad spending habits.

If you want to truly get your finances in order, all you need is to dedicate some time and effort. Millionaires spend, on average, 8.4 hours a month managing and planning their finances, according to research by business theorist, Thomas Stanley.

Set up a recurring event in your calendar for a weekly money date. For one hour, update your budget, review any upcoming expenses, pay bills, and handle other financial matters. Try to make this task as enjoyable as possible by listening to music or lighting candles. The more fun and less stressed this exercise is, the more you won’t hate it. 

Education is key to making the best financial decisions. Reading personal finance articles may not sound exciting but it will help you become more informed about the market. Reading the papers, blogs or books for at least 20 minutes a week will help you get ideas on how to make the most of your cash, and save more.

If you have a question or idea that may help your finances, reach out to those that may be able to offer you the best advice. Talk to mentors or entrepreneurs who are successful in their financial lives. A lot of financial mishaps can be avoided by learning from the mistakes of others.

If you feel (or know) your finances are in dire straits, talk to the professionals. There are many organisations, such as MABS, that can guide you. There are solutions out there, you just have to find and work with them.