Staying Accountable With My Money
Can it make you happier?
Of course we all want to achieve optimum financial health, but in reality, it’s bloody hard. Willpower has its limits. We’re only human, and however carefully we budget, there will always be those days when you just “have to” splurge on a treat, blowing half your monthly spending money in the process. This is where personal accountability comes in.
What is personal accountability?
It basically means that you and you alone are responsible for your actions and their consequences. That goes for successes and failures.
Why is it important?
Because it’s often the missing piece of the puzzle when you’re not achieving your financial goals. You might have stopped that £5 a day coffee habit, but why are your debts not diminishing as you’d hoped? It’s probably because you’re not being totally present and honest with yourself when it comes to money. Being accountable means not sweeping ANYTHING under the carpet and looking honestly at your EVERY financial action, including library fines, drunken internet shopping and giving money to beggars. You have to own literally every tiny transaction you make, to make your money work for you.
5 ways you can stay accountable with your money:
- What’s your motto in life
Know who you are and why you are doing what you are doing. OK, so this sounds like a level of self-knowledge that 2,000 years of philosophy still hasn’t got its head around, but you can pick a phrase that feels meaningful to you and try to hold it in your mind every morning when preparing for the day ahead. It might be something as big as “achieve total independence” or as low-key as “stay humble”.
- Find your tribe
Are you working with a coach when you go to the gym? Is your nutritionist calling you on your phone to ask for updates? Do you have strict deadlines from your boss? If these things help you achieve your goals, extend that to your personal finances. Having the right person by your side can really help get things done. Perhaps it’s the Vestpod community? Or a financial advisor? Maybe it’s your partner or a friend? Or maybe you should…
- Use an app
Online goal trackers like Stikk (https://www.stickk.com/) or to-do-list app Wunderlist (https://www.wunderlist.com/) are brilliant for helping you commit to your goal. They send you reminders when you need them and help you stay organised and focused.
- Break it down
Make your saving to-do list manageable. If an item is still on your list after a month maybe it’s not something you’re ever going to manage and will just keep staring out at you making you feel bad about yourself? So scrap it. Set achievable targets and keep reviewing how you’re doing. Remember, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Spent £100 on lunches this week? Take time to sit with your thoughts and really burrow into why you made those decisions. Don’t blame work, or the weather, or other people. The reason you do what you do lies within you.
- Reward yourself
All this might sound a little more tough-talkin’ than the usual Vestpod hand-holdery… but while looking hard at your motivations and taking full responsibility for yourself is one of the hardest elements of personal development, the process of applying this to your finances does not need to be painful. Remember that there’s a reward just around the corner (and not one that will ruin next month’s budget, either, because the new accountable you doesn’t hide away “guilty” spending like a never-worn pair of Jimmy Choos in the back of your wardrobe).
When you’re being accountable, everything is out in the open, so you can really enjoy your spending. You’ve saved enough money, now it’s time to reward yourself. And why not make it an educational experience like a fun cooking course or a session with a life coach or nutritionist: something that will make a difference to the way you feel, and can never gather dust.