7 ways to get more confident with your money

4 Feb, 2021

No one saw the coronavirus coming. Financial stress became a distinctive feature of 2020 and you might be feeling that you got through by the skin of your teeth.

Many of us entered the new year asking, “Am I equipped to manage my finances effectively, no matter what happens to my situation?”.

If you are one of the thousands of Australians accessing the government’s support benefits, this question would be particularly front of mind ahead of upcoming changes to these payments in March.

2020 was a reminder  that we don’t have total control over the state of our finances or market forces that affect them – only God is in control. However, you can still use the resources given to you to cultivate resilience.

Being resilient is about being flexible, durable and able to last when put to the test. There are some really practical things you can do to build financial resilience in the new year.

  1. Talk about your budget.  Set aside some time in the next few days to talk about money with your spouse or someone you trust. It’s a good chance to take stock and consider what is coming up and make adjustments. If you have never written a budget or talked much about money, now is a good time to find your next CAP Money course and get started. This isn’t a one-time habit, either! Monthly is a good standard to aim for.
  2. Consider your current priorities. Now is a good time to consider where to cut costs, cut back or cut out, in line with new and changing priorities. Some things may have to change for a while.
     
  3.  Cut up the credit card. Debit cards can function just like credit cards (online purchases, contactless payment, internet banking). Living on credit does nothing to build financial resilience. If things start getting tight, you need to avoid building up credit that you won’t be able to afford to pay back later.

    Note: if you have lost your job and see no other way than to use your credit card for necessities, please refer to number 6 – ask for help. 
     
  4. Live within your means. When we spend every dollar we earn, it is impossible to build any financial resilience. For some of us this might not be the time to build up savings, however, apply this principle as soon as possible to ensure you are building towards financial resilience.
     
  5. Reach out. You may feel okay with where you are financially — if that’s you, great! It’s important to check in with others. You don’t have to be a financial adviser or counsellor to ask how someone is going.
     
  6. Ask for help. You might be starting to really worry about what is to come. Maybe all this talk of financial resilience is making you worry that you won’t be able to weather the storm. Ask for help. If you don’t know anyone, call CAP on 1300 227 000 and a caseworker will talk to you.
     
  7. Pray. Matthew chapter 6 teaches us not to be anxious. Not because there is nothing to worry about, but because God knows and loves us and has promised to take care of us. By taking things one day at a time, we can rest knowing God is in control and knows our needs.

These practical tips are great. But there is something a little deeper to dig into if you want to achieve true financial freedom.

All the money in the world can’t protect us from the unknown of tomorrow or the anxiety of knowing we’re not really in control. A trust that is built on the promises of God is a confidence that cannot be shaken. When you trust God, instead of seeking control, resilience will start to be the hallmark how you respond to any crisis.

Financial resilience might start with a budget — something material. But CAP’s prayer is not just that you may be financially resilient in this moment, but that the discipline of budgeting would prepare in your heart a resilience that is unmoveable thanks to the confidence found in Christ.