By Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder
Money can be rewarding but it can also be very stressful. This is especially true when the cost of living is rising, because it affects everyone.
Research from Finder shows around 1 in 5 Australians (20%) feel extremely stressed about money in 2022. Another 53% feel somewhat stressed.
The good news is that we can change our mindset around money to feel more focused, positive and clear on our goals. Here are 5 steps you can take to get there.
We can’t control the RBA cash rate decisions or how much a lettuce costs at the supermarket. But we can control what we do about it.
If your home loan rate goes up, for example, you could look at refinancing to get a better deal.
Shopping around also helps you save on groceries – and there are plenty of other tips to keep costs down at the supermarket.
Even if you only do something small, it can help build a more positive mindset.
According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, we value action over inaction.
There are always going to be costs we have to pay or things we can’t control, but asking “what can I do?” leads to action.
It’s also a way to feel empowered about your money.
It’s a lot easier to change your money situation if you have a goal that you really want to reach.
Maybe you’re saving for a house or a wedding. Maybe you want a pay rise or have plans for a great side hustle. Or maybe you just want to get on top of your debt.
Whatever it is, having a goal gives you focus – and valuing that goal will motivate you to stay on track so you can reach it.
Want an extra boost in motivation? Share your goal with someone you respect.
Research shows that this helps you achieve goals by keeping you accountable. If you find someone who also wants to change their money mindset, you’ll be able to support and motivate each other.
Changing your mindset around money takes time, so it’s important to recognise and enjoy your wins along the way.
This positive reinforcement helps you make changes and also stick with them.
So if you’ve saved your first $1,000, paid off debt or created a budget, reward yourself.
This could be as simple (and cost-free) as sharing your win with a loved one. It could also be something like brunch with friends or a mini getaway if you’ve been working really hard.
The key is to find rewards that support your mindset and goals.
These are different for everyone but it can be nice to take the time to figure out what they are. Then, build them into your approach to money.
There are ways to make managing money an enjoyable part of life.
As well as rewarding yourself for wins, this can be about the actual apps and tools you use.
For example, if you’re a visual person then an app that helps you track goals with charts and trends could make it more engaging.
Or, if you love podcasts, find one that relates to your money goals to get inspiration from others.
Prefer reading? Check out blogs and books about money matters that you’re interested in.
There are plenty out there and it can be inspiring to hear stories of people on a similar path – not to mention those who’ve achieved a lot.
The way we think about money and our habits are built up over time. So proactively changing them is a process.
On top of that, life happens – and sometimes that means we need to deal with what’s in front of us before we can keep going with money goals.
So if you find yourself falling back into old habits, or take a break to focus on other areas of your life, that’s fine. Just dust yourself off, refocus and take the next step to improve your mindset around money.