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  • Becca

Managing Money and Debt | The Column

Money is one of the biggest stressors in all our lives. We always need more. We always want more. In order to live a comfortable life you need to have money. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can make your life easier, sometimes.

In 2018, MoneyAdvisor conducted a survey, where they found that 77% of Brits are stressed about money. According to the research, more than 3 in 4 people are stressed out because of money and debt. It’s not really surprising, especially given that we have gone through two recessions since 2000. For everybody of working age, that’s a lot to take in.

Money worries is one of the big reasons I sometimes find it hard to sleep. Payday will arrive and relief and happiness overcomes you. You’ve got money in your account; you can go out and do things! But then the bills and rent come out and you’re not left with much.

Does anyone else feel guilty about spending things? I know I do. Especially if I’ve got to pay off the latest credit card bill, or I’ve got a lingering amount on my Argos card that somehow doesn’t seem to go away.

I feel guilty for buying something on Amazon, when I think ‘damn, that £20 could have gone towards my savings!’ The thing is, this guilt is unfounded – why shouldn’t I buy things? Spending is, after all, what keeps the economy afloat. It’s the circle of life.

Life is expensive, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about having debt or for spending money. Your financial history should not be a moral definer, but often people feel trapped by it and feel shame. 

Money worries can become overwhelming, but if you don’t keep on top of them they could spiral. Having your head in the sand won’t help you, so use trackers and budgets to help you reign in spending.

According to a 2019 survey, the average Brit doesn’t begin to worry about debt until it hits £6,012. The poll also found the average respondent had a total debt, excluding student loans and mortgages, of £6,936. 

I began worrying before I got to the thousands, because I am just a natural worrier anyway. I used to have my head in the sand about spending; I would feel bad about being in my overdraft, but still wasn’t sure how to completely get out of it. We don’t talk about bad money habits, but we all have them, and we should all tackle them before they spiral. 

How can we stop feeling guilty about money? Well, first we have to not let money define us. You are not your salary. Just because you may be unemployed does not make you worthless. We’re all struggling out there, so be kinder to yourself. You’ll be okay. Everyone worries about money, and you’re not alone in that. 

I am now in a better situation, since making a few changes to the way I view money.

What I learnt from this experience:

  • Saving a certain amount a month, and putting it into a separate saving account or ISA. If you can’t touch it, you can’t spend it. 

  • As soon as your pay cheque comes in, pay off some of your debt. It will make you feel more in control.

  • Create a running tally of how much you owe, and every time you pay a bit off, amend your tally. It will you make you feel good to see the number going down. 

  • Any money you have left over at the end of the month, use it to pay off more of the debt. You could save it, but by paying off your debts quicker, you’ll be paying less in the long run.

  • Create a budget. Seriously. This one is a no-brainer, yet so many of us don’t do it. 

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