How much have you spent this week? Do you know? Okay, so have a think back, what have you spent money on today? How about this week? How much has it added up to? Do you know? If you are like most people, you haven’t really thought about how much you have spent over the last few days. Your first thought is probably – not much, I haven’t really been anywhere to spend money. But what about the bought lunches, morning coffees, take away and parking?
At Grandma’s Jars, I often ask new clients to imagine what life would be like if they were debt free. For a few fleeting moments their whole demeanour would light up as they enthusiastically considered the possibilities and all the things they would like to do with their lives without the burden of debt. But then the spark would disappear squashed by the reality of their situation. The idea of paying off debt, while a nice idea, seems too big a dream to hope for. As a budget coach at Grandma’s Jars, I have come to realise that one of the biggest impediments to people paying off their debt is a lack of genuine belief that it is possible for them.
The power of a coach The only thing that matches my passion for budget coaching is my love of long distance running. Through my twenties and early thirties I spent many weekends competing in half marathons, marathons and cross country races. I loved nothing better than heading off into the bush on a Sunday morning with the dog and good friends for a 30-35km run. While I raced in the NSW Marathon team for a few years at the National Championships and held a couple of course records, I never really fulfilled my potential. I trained too hard, never rested enough, paced myself poorly and spent half the time injured. I often wondered what I could have achieved had I found a good coach that was genuinely interested in me, a coach that understood me, a coach that could help me develop a long term plan and was there to make sure I rested when I needed to rest.
Spend any time with me and you will very quickly understand that I am passionate about helping people develop the skills and habits they need to be successful at managing money and managing debt. Over the past 15 years I have worked with many hundreds of couples and individuals to help them overcome debt and build a strong financial foundation. In short I love what I do and am extremely good at it. I don’t tell you this to ‘toot my own trumpet’ but rather to add weight and perspective to the rest of this blog. Debt management and getting out of debt is never easy but experience has taught me that with perseverance and the right strategy you can pay off credit cards, personal loans, car loans etc a lot faster than you think.
Living on an uneven income does add some complexity to budgeting and managing your expenses, however with the right system and a bit of discipline it does not need to be difficult. In my previous blog I outlined the two broad categories of uneven income as: The Seasonal worker – This sort of income is typical in industries such as farming, sales and tourism where income comes in lumps followed by long periods of little or no income. The Penalty Rate Worker – This type of ‘uneven income’ occurs when you work shift work or in a job that includes overtime penalty rates.
In the first blog in this series, Mortgage Advice for Young Couples Part 1: How Much Do We Need to Save For a House?, I provided an overview of how much you need to save before buying a house and outlined all the costs you need to consider. In this second blog, Mortgage Advice for Young Couples Part 2: How Much Can We Afford to Spend on a House?, I outlined the process I use with all my clients to help them identify how much they can afford to spend on a house.
Before I take on a new coaching client, I let them know that there are three rules to coaching that I need them to agree to before we get started. The first and most important of these rules is that they agree to do whatever I ask them to do, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. Experience has taught us that you can’t half do a budget; you can’t just pick the bits that are comfortable and easy to follow and leave the bits that are time-consuming or difficult to implement.
Living on an uneven income does add some complexity to budgeting however with the right system and a bit of discipline it does not need to be difficult. Uneven incomes can be broken into the following two categories:
One of the most fulfilling parts of being a financial coach is journeying with and helping people achieve financial goals that are important to them. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, financial goal you and I will face in our lifetime is to save for and purchase our first house. As a financial coach I also recognise that a big part of my responsibility to my clients is to give them the right advice, even if they don’t necessarily like what they hear.
One of the most fulfilling parts of being a financial coach is journeying with and helping people achieve financial goals that are important to them. One of the biggest, if not the biggest financial goal you and I will face in our lifetime, is to save for and purchase our first house.