Staying Smart with Your Money

Temptation is all around. No, not the temptation to order pizza after a stressful day instead of cooking a nutritious meal or grab that alluring candy bar from the office vending machine when your lunch break feels like forever away (although those certainly don’t help). In this post we’re talking about all the myriad temptations that can keep us not from our health and fitness goals but from the goal of financial well being.

We all know that feeling when we’re at a loose end on a Saturday afternoon and decide to take yourself for some retail therapy. That enticing pair of trainers, the games console you’ve been promising yourself for a while, a new coat for the chilly coming months… They can all be especially tempting around payday. The trouble is that this temptation can slowly prove the ruination of your household finances, especially when you already have considerable debts racked up.

Unfortunately, the pervasive culture is “buy now, worry about the consequences later”. While this is a very tempting mode of thought when you’re in the thrall of your local shopping centre, it may have consequences that (while they may be far from your mind at the time) can impact hugely on your health and wellbeing.


Stop! Your debt is ruining your health

Debt is a natural, some might even say inevitable aspect of 21st century living for all except the exceptionally well paid or the inherently wealthy. But while debt may be unavoidable for some, the way in which we handle it is crucial. If we bury our heads in the sand when it comes to our debts they can not only spiral out of control but weight more and more heavily on our minds. Debt induces worry which is the cousin of stress. Now, forget about carbon monoxide, stress is the real silent killer. High stress levels can lead to a range of ill-effects on our physical, emotional and psychological health no matter how healthy our lifestyles may be otherwise. It can impede your immune function and make you more vulnerable to a range of illnesses. It can also increase your risk of a range of heart problems including hypertension and heart disease as well as diabetes and even some forms of cancer.

You need to take control of your debts and break the cycle. Needless to say, it’s rarely a clan break. It’s more a case of remedying the behaviors that got us into debt in the first place as well as getting into better habits when it comes to borrowing.

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You can get better credit, whatever your credit score!

Of course, we don’t get into debt solely because of our addiction to treating ourselves. Every now and then  life throws an unexpected expense our way and our household finances simply aren’t equipped to tackle it. When a strong wind blows the tile from your roof, your washing machine decides that now would be the perfect time to flood your kitchen or when your car’s diesel particulate filter decides that it’s going to give up the ghost getting your hands on good credit can keep your finances from ruin.

However, when we’ve spent years accruing debts but are unable to pay them off as quickly as we’d like to, the results for our credit ratings can be far from pretty. In your desperation you may be tempted to reach out to predatory lenders like payday loan companies. However, their staggeringly high rates of interest and aggressive practices will likely not only feed the cycle of debt that you’re trying to break, they’ll add considerably to the stress, anxiety and psychological toll that your debt can have on you. The good news that even if you have less than desirable credit you have better options available. For example a guarantor loan from a company like Buddy Loans is a much better option if you have a friend or relative who trusts you enough to act as a guarantor for you. This will be far more equitable in terms of interest and help you to better manage your debt while still allowing you to pay for life’s unexpected expenses.

 

Consolidation can stop your debts from spiraling out of control

When you have multiple debts it’s incredibly hard to keep them under control and take steps to better manage your household finances through budgeting and tighter money management. When you have numerous payments, each of which comes out on a different day and with a different rate of interest it’s much harder to plan our finances around them.

A consolidation loan can be extremely helpful for you in this regard. It replaces all of your debts with a single monthly payment which is much, much easier to manage.

 

Get those credit cards under control

Credit cards always seem awesome when you apply to them. But leave them to their own devices and they will seriously mess up your life, financially! Keep on moving that debt around to different cards with 0% interest on balance transfers. Sure, there’s a fee incurred but it’s negligible compared to how much you could be wasting in interest! Here are some of this year’s best 0% interest balance transfer cards.

 

Learn to be happier with what you have, and stop looking for fulfillment in things

Treating yourself to new clothes, shoes, tech gadgets and the like is like treating yourself to a huge ice cream sundae when you’re in your cutting phase at the gym. Sure, it’s initially satisfying, but it will have consequences which will take you a long while to work off.

While the occasional indulgence may not seem like that much of a threat to your financial health on its own, a tenner here, twenty quid there, another fifty or a hundred here. It all adds up to the growing deficit when the bills come due.

As difficult as it may be in a consumer capitalist society, perhaps the most powerful thing you can do to break the cycle of debt is to stop looking for fulfillment in purchases and material possessions. Try to focus your attention on enjoying the things you already have. And hey, if something you own has stopped bringing you joy… sell it!

In order to break the cycle of debt, you need to fight the battle on many fronts. Keep to the above advice, and you’ll creep out of the debt hole in no time!

– Jack

 

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