I suppose I could be nicer about it, but at your age, a lot of people have already been nice about it. Where has that gotten you? You continue to take more time spending money than you do saving it, and your investments and pensions are a shambles. Worse, you spend enough money on binge purchases to take a flat on High Street. So, I think it’s time we took the gloves off and got down to business. If I’m wrong, then good for you. Send this article to one of your comfortable and lazy friends, and give them a kick in the bum. Just let them know that it’s self help, with a kick.
Have I Got Your Attention Now?
Good. Now, what if I told you that you could save a thousand pounds or more each year by making a few changes to your lifestyle? Well, I’ll tell you what would happen. Your brain would immediately shut me out the same way it tunes out other things it doesn’t want to hear, like the worst band of the year – One Direction. Not that I’m anywhere near the blight on society that One Direction is, but rather, because we humans are creatures of habit, and those habits tend to reward us for being lazy. We like our comforts, and we don’t like changing them. Sometimes that’s good, but other times it can be bad. It’s especially bad when it’s expanding our rump, or sucking the life out of our savings. It’s also why you can’t save money. You see, we unconsciously establish patterns of savings and spending that allow us to make comfort purchases. Whether it’s a morning latte, a nicer lunch than usual, or a weekend excursion, we depend on these little comforts to put us right when things go wrong. This lets us face the unforgiving and all too often unfriendly world we live in. It makes us feel good, even when we’re getting fat. In fact, it’s exactly these patterns that are responsible for both blokes and dames throwing away their money on people who are obviously using them. When you try to warn someone about these things, or suggest an alternate course of action, they go a little crazy. It’s not their fault though. What’s happening is that the primitive part of their brain has taken over. Because it’s primitive, any changes to established routines are viewed as threatening. This is especially true of changes that have the potential to negatively impact the primitive brain’s comfort. Rather than accepting the fact that observing sound financial tips will improve our long-term comfort, we instead accept that they are threats. This lets us believe our primitive brain when it tells us that the impending latte shortage triggered by trying to save few pounds will result in a domino effect that will surely lead to our death.
It’s Not The End of the World Until Zombies Attack
Fortunately, your brain lied, and you’re not going to die if you skip a latte, at least until zombies attack. However, it does happen to be the same part of the brain that likes us to play the lottery, because it assures us that we are special. It tells us that any day now, we’re going to get that winning ticket that will result in fish and chips for the whole family, every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. That same part of our brain would never suggest something more logical, such as paying a billionaire a few pounds a week to try the combination on his or her safe, but it would happily lead us off into the video game fantasy world of the Elder Scrolls Online. You see, no matter what we do, our primitive brains will always find reasons to escape reality and be financially irresponsible. Most of us don’t even question it. We know deep down that saving money is really a conspiracy to take away our primary means of coping with stress. That’s why I’m going to show you how to prime your brain and trick it into getting financially fit. You’ll drop at least a few hundred pounds in the process. Though, if you apply yourself, you can easily drop a thousand pounds or more. For those of you reading from outside of the UK, the pounds I’m talking about dropping aren’t coming off your bum. Rather, they’re going to be dropped into working for you, and earning even more while you sleep. That means, every time you sit down or relax, you’re going to be getting paid for it.
Get Your Brain to Focus on Your Finances
Now, see how your brain just tuned in? That’s what happens when we mention sitting on your arse and getting a reward for doing noting. Your primitive cave brain just loves that sort of thing. It got ready to ramp up your heartbeat to increase blood flow, and improve your ability to focus on this article for a few seconds more. Not unlike hearing to the new digitally mastered Led Zeppelin recordings for the first time, it was as close to bliss as you’re likely to come today. This is because we all love to be rewarded – especially when we don’t know what those rewards are, but we’re sure they’re good. Since earning a few thousand quid is definitely rewarding, you’re still reading, and that’s great. We’re going to show you how to work just a little differently, focusing on your earnings, rather than your savings. Because it’s not a trick or a gimmick it won’t be easy, but earning more than the cost of a new Droid or iPhone each year will make it well worth your efforts. For any of you who think what I’m about to suggest might be a bit shady, I’d like to point out that it’s head and shoulders above what most of High Street is doing in terms of ethics. It’s also perfectly legal. Banks just don’t like when you do it, because it means you’re being smart with your money. That means smaller bonuses and less money for them. Their primitive brains don’t like that any more than yours does.
It’s All In How You Spend, Not How You Save
We spend most of our lives with savings and pensions rammed down our throats, and up our nether parts. Meanwhile, we look at those around us, and we see how a few souls got lucky and made a million. Sure, some innovated, while others really did just get lucky, but an awful lot of people somehow seem to always be ahead of the game. More to the point, they always seem to be ahead of you, despite having the same job. So, if they didn’t just get lucky, and they aren’t any more innovative than you, at least that you can see, how did they do it? Well, they did it by focusing on how they spend. Pause for a moment, and think about that. No. Pause longer. Short pauses are what sheep do. Don’t be a sheep. You’re surrounded by good financial examples, and you’ve spent your life ignoring them. Now it’s time to pay attention for a change. These people who are doing better than you all put their money to work. They made sure that every pound they earned had a job. Even if that job wasn’t today, they made sure that their money was always working. These aren’t people who have traditional savings, because they understand that any time your money isn’t working, it’s being fat and lazy. Sound familiar? It should, because we’re back to you now. Think about it. Fat and lazy does nothing but sit around making excuses and adjusting expectations to maintain the illusion of comfort. Money in a savings account is absolutely not working. It’s earning a few pence when it should be earning pounds. That means you need to refocus, and put your eyes and your money on the real prize, starting by making sure that you’ve got every last pound assigned to a job.
Making Your Money Work for You and Your Budget
So, how do you do you make your money work? Well, it starts with your budget. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have accounted for every pound you spend in a given month. When you’ve done that, then you’ll compare it with your earnings. Any money you didn’t spend on your immediate needs is money that’s not working. It’s lazy money, which will go to lattes and your ever expanding waist. Put that money to work, rather than letting it slack off. However, you need to put it to work without spending it, even if you are spending it. Now, that’s where the trick lies. Well, it’s not really a trick. Rather, it’s about your financial perspective when it comes to your finances. You see, if you treat your finances like the budget of a first world country, rather than the earnings of a Starbucks employee, you’ll see an immense change in the way your financial life is structured. No longer is your latte just a drink. Rather, it’s a factor impacting your personal GDP. The three quid you spend every morning on your lattes, added to the £80 a week in lunches and evening pints, plus the £100 month in concerts, will add up to about £6,500 a year. If you’re earning £65,000 a year, then that means, as a country, you’ve just squandered 10% of your GDP on nothing. Now, consider the rest of your spending, and try to floating your budget past the House of Commons. See how far you get, because when they look at all the other things you’re wasting your money on, or the credit card debt you’re no doubt carrying, that scandal’s going to make front page. However, if you’re creative, like the cheeky Banksters and other devils up on High Street, you can keep right on with more or less your same lifestyle, by using the earnings of the money you’re going to put to work. That’s how they do it, and it’s how you’ll do it too, primitive brain be damned.
First, Take Action!
Give every pound a job, and save any that don’t have jobs you can immediately think of. Think of them as your defense budget, as opposed to a savings account. Savings accounts are weak, and easily overcome. Defense budgets, however, are what funds the Special Air Service (SAS). That means you’re funding an elite account, so we’ll call it your very own SAS Account, instead of a weak and sniveling Savings Account. How’s that for kicking it up a notch? Since you’re perspective has shifted a bit now, we’ll move on to the next step.
Second, Buckle Down Lads and Lasses!
It’s time to man up a bit, or woman up, as this is Finance Girl, after all. What you’re going to do here is let your personal SAS Account take care of the home front. That means all those pounds you’ve been assigning to the job of defending the budget of your newly formed first world country are going to be doing a very special task. They’re going to be training until they’re strong to keep the peace for an entire month. That means your entire monthly budget is paid up a month in advance thanks to the dedication of your SAS Account. Once you’ve got that budget nailed down, you can loosen your belt a bit, but keep your SAS Account funded so your money is constantly working. How your money goes to work depends on you, and whether or not you’re smart abut part three.
Third, Be Intelligent About Your Finances!
Leverage the expertise of your very own Financial Security Service. We’ll call it FI5, because that’s absolutely original. The task of FI5 is simple. They’ll make sure your private little first world finance nation is protected from internal threats. Specifically, threats involving you doing stupid things like binge shopping, being kidnapped by sales, or randomly attacked by lattes and pastries. Especially pastries, those evil, fanatic, sticky little bastards. However, as with all things involving intelligence, the variables are going to be radically different from one person to the next. Thus, how the work of FI5 is carried out will largely depend on you, and whether you’ve already got a debt comparable to that of the US, or something less likely to cause global financial collapse. I mention this because unsustainable and idiot financial policies are hardly unique to the US, so we want to make sure you use at least a little more common sense – unless you’re also printing your own money. Anyway, you’re going to need to place a lot of trust in your FI5 guys. In return for that trust, they’re going to go all Bond on the Banksters and High Street devils that want you to be a debt slave.
Six ways to you put FI5 to work:
- Zero Interest No Fee Credit Cards: Get as many of these little devils as you can – preferably the ones that are good for more than a year. Nothing will put your money to work harder, or let you save more. Let’s assume that you spend at least 40% of your £65,000 GDP we discussed up above on real purchases. Things like rent, car payments, utilities, and food. Especially food. That comes to £26,000 a year in expenses, but we’ll round that up to £30,000, because that’s probably more in line with what you’re spending each year. Now, instead of spending your cash on those items, you’ll spend your zero interest credit on them. Any money you would have spent will go into a high yield interest bearing account. Earn 5% interest, and you’ll easily be in the £1,000 pound savings range on interest alone.
- Cash Back and Rewards Credit Cards (Sainsbury’s, Santander, Tesco): This one takes the cake. Since you shop for food anyway, and a number of other things, you can get cards that reward you for spending your money. If you’re sharp, you can even find cards that have zero interest and no fees. If you’re really sharp, you can find zero interest no fee cards that will also waive the standard 3% balance transfer fee from other cards, and convert that to rewards points. In other words, you get another year plus of 0% interest, and you get cash back in the process. In other words, when banks compete for your business, play it smart, and you’ll always win. This one can add up to another £1,000 or more over the course of a year.
- Reset Personal Expectations of Comfort: This sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually true. You don’t need to see the latest movie in the theatre, or catch your favorite bands live every time they headline an absurdly expensive show. There are equally great acts all over the place that can be seen at a fraction of the cost. The same holds true for the cinema. Visit a pub that shows films, and you can have a low priced pint while watching a low priced or even free film on the big screen. Think of it like buying a hand tailored suit or dress for a few hundred quid, as opposed to spending a few thousand on something made by Armani or BCBG. Invest or save the money you didn’t spend, and you’ve just popped another couple thousand quid in your SAS Account, or otherwise invested it.
- Be Financially Smart in Everything You Do, and Always Put Your Money to Work: When you’ve got a handle on your finances, that hardly means it’s a done deal. Rather, it’s like shaving. Before you know it, what was shaved clean looks like the jungles of Africa. Your finances are the same. Stop looking after your finances, and they can go from trim and fit to looking like a yeti almost overnight. Every time you put one quid towards a purchase, consider whether that quid could be working somewhere else, or doing a better job than the one you’re putting it to. Anything else is childish, and if it’s childish you want, you should just move back in your room with mum and dad.
- Emulate Those You Wish to Be Like: Wealthy people don’t get wealthy because of how they save. They get wealthy because of how they spend. Take the example of American Express. The card company succeeds because they make money on the purchases the wealthy make – but their fees are taken from the merchants – not the wealthy. The best American Express cards require that the balance is paid in full over a relatively short time, but they still happily take their fees from the merchants accepting payment. That’s smart spending, but you’d never know that unless you did some financial digging. Likewise, you won’t often see wealthy folks sipping a latte. Rather, they’ll take one at home. That’s because a decent home machine runs about 200 quid, or, about 70 Starbucks lattes. So, be smart, and pay attention to the people you want to be like – just don’t imitate any wealthy idiots, or you could also find yourself losing £500,000 too.
- Take Care Of Your Credit: This one should be obvious, but too many of us just coast through our credit, assuming that a few quid here and there in credit reporting and checking fees is money wasted. The truth is, even if you spend £100 a year, you’re still saving money on low fee cards and other services. However, you can coast in on a 30 day free membership, get all of your details, and then either stay on board at £7.99 a month (including VAT), or cancel and then sign up again later to check your stats. Here are the details for a credit checking service – cheers: MyCredit Tracker – £7.99 Monthly.
You Can Take That to the Bank
That’s what putting your money to work is all about. It’s not comfortable, but then neither is living in the street. While we’ve had a bit of fun here and there throughout this post, the fact is, you’re a lot closer to being homeless than you think, except for the help of friends and family. Bump that, though, even a little, and you could be one of an estimated 300 skilled workers sleeping the streets of London tonight. That’s no laughing matter. When you’re down and out, you’ll wish that you’d done anything other than play with your money and be lazy about how it was spent. That’s when the real value of the three quid you threw off on lattes will become clear to you, but by then it will be too late. Don’t let that happen. Be smart about your finances, and don’t waste your time or those of your loved ones playing games. Keep in mind that your primitive brain is right in a way. You really could die because of the lattes and sticky buns, but it’s the comfort and lackadaisical attitude of having them with no care for your finances fosters that’ll put you on the street. Be smart, and if you’re lucky, you might one day meet an amazing finance girl or guy of your own. Then you can have your lattes and make sticky buns together.
A special thanks to those of you who read this far. We’ve optimized this post so that it appears well on mobile and portable devices, while also looking decent on desktops. Obviously it’s outrageously long, but then if someone sold you a 14 page, 3500 word ebook about how to save for a few quid, you’d have the same results as this post. The difference is, this post will let you spend those £3 on a latte. Or, if you’ve been paying attention, put them to work in your SAS Account. Good luck, and remember, FI5 is watching your assets – you should too.