No… You’re NOT “bad with money”

a) It’s not helpful and b) we don’t believe you!

You are good with money!

Often, when meeting people and telling them all about the Vestpod story and describing our mission, the first reaction is “Oh wow, that’s great, but I am soooo bad with money”. I am always surprised to hear this because I fundamentally don’t agree: I think you might just be amazing with money!

We all have the same excuses: that we never learnt about personal finance or are inherently lacking the willpower to save. But whatever your age and situation, there are things you can do to change all that. Remember our Growth Mindset article last week? Well, there’s no time like the present to learn and develop new skills.

Problems with the way you see your financial abilities can be divided into two groups: the environmental ones to do with your past and your family, and daily task-management issues.

First let’s look at the big picture: the way our upbringing and social or family setting affects our financial health. Many of us were raised with no financial education. Whether rich or poor or somewhere in between, most of us had parents who either shielded us from their financial decision-making, or were just winging it themselves, so there was nothing to teach. Obviously, this leaves us with the legacy of feeling lost when it comes to money.

But think of it this way: even those mythical perfect families who sit round the table with their kids discussing the monthly budget had at some point in their genealogical heritage to start somewhere. Like a social virus, these traditions began with one individual deciding to try something. So try something: sit round the table with your family (partner, kids, cousins, parents - everyone’s welcome) and discuss the monthly budget! What have you go to lose? You can learn together and you’ll be breaking the cycle of financial illiteracy by getting the conversation going. Go online and research budget tips, saving advice and learn the basics of interest rates and inflation if you don’t know it already. Maybe the first time, just print out some info from a website and read it aloud, inviting people to comment. You’re going to feel so empowered by taking that first step out of the darkness. And future generations of your clan will thank you for it!

Now for the little things. Those £10 lunches. That £50 Friday night pick-me-up (how can pizza and a film cost so much?). That fancy haircut you “had” stick on the credit card to boost your confidence. The fact is, a month’s worth of cheeky treats costs so much these days that the hole it makes in your budget will probably make you even more stressed than you were to start with, when you needed those treats to cheer you up! You see how we get trapped in a cycle of stress and treats, stress and treats? Maybe it’s time to accept that those treats aren’t really making you feel better – they’re making you sad because they’re getting you in to debt.

Why not make a list of feel-good things that you can afford? It could be something as simple as streamlining your clothes cupboards by taking stuff to charity, meaning that next time you can budget for a new outfit, it’ll have earned its place in your new, slimmed-down wardrobe where everything is lovely and nothing is a holey legging. Doing something enjoyable that helps others is a great confidence booster too.

Another way we “fail” (a.k.a. make honest mistakes that we can grow from) is by spending too much on cooking and cleaning. By which we mean spending too much on getting other people to do this for us. Yes, I hear you sigh, I know I should be making protein-packed salad boxes to take to work every day. But somehow I just never do it.

So get inspired! Books, pinterest, Instagram, even your own pre-digital memory for fun lunch ideas. Take your packed lunch (i.e. save money) straight to a sunny park or hidden city square, plug in to an inspiring audiobook, kick off your shoes and feel the good vibes of spring brightening up your lunch hour. You’re going to feel so much better after week of break-times like that that you might not even need that expensive Friday night treat. And you won’t only feel better because you ticked the abstract box of “saving money”, but because you made the conscious decision to do something different and simple for yourself. Right now. This week. Because – you know what’s coming next, don’t you – YOU’RE WORTH IT!

And here are 50 Personal Finance Habits Everyone Should Follow by TIME in case you don’t believe us!