Does your relationship with money empower you or does it keep you stuck in a place you don’t want to be? That was one of the things we discussed yesterday during a panel to mark the seventh annual Credit Education Week. I was one of a group of women sharing thoughts and insights on the many ways we Canadians blow our budgets, whether it’s to buy more clothes, our morning lattes or expensive dinners out with friends. As moderator Pattie Lovett-Reid pointed out, money is personal. Indeed, our relationship with money goes beyond our relationship with the bank or a credit card company.
What if you could turn your relationship with money around? What if your money could enable you to make positive changes in your life — like quitting a job you hate? Sure, a lot of us dream about walking away from a job we don’t like and doing something else, but so many are tied to the grind by a long list of unpaid bills and monthly expenses.
Money is usually the sticking point when it comes to following our dreams. Not everyone is cut out for living without the certainty of a regular paycheque, especially if you’re supporting kids and paying a mortgage. Yet, if you look closer at the numbers, you might find it’s possible to live on less — and pursue your goals of going back to school, traveling, or starting a new business.
If your job is bringing your down, consider making a change. The first step is to make some room financially. Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Make a list
Week by week, make a list of everything you spend money on: clothing, rent, lunches, coffees, haircut… anything. Consider what you can live without and what you can’t, then make a bare bones list of how much you need to get by.
2. Make a plan
Whether it’s starting your own business, retraining for another career or taking a year out to travel, decide what it is you want to do and the steps you need to take to get there. Find out how much money you really need to make it happen then…
3. Check your savings
You’ll need to make sure you have some financial wiggle room in your life in case an unexpected expense arises (and this shouldn’t include your registered retirement savings plan or other savings earmarked for retirement).
4. What can you do to make extra money
From a part-time job to freelance work, is there anything you can do to make money after you quit your job? Blogger Chrystal Yee spent some time travelling around the world and freelancing to make ends meet. Her blog, Givemebackmyfivebucks.com, gives a detailed account of what she earned and what she spent while living on less income.
5. Talk to your employer
Have you approached your employer about shifting from full-time to part-time work? This could be an option if you’re looking to go back to school or try to build a business on the side. You might find yourself happier in your job just by being there less.
Follow personal finance expert Caroline Cakebread at Twitter.com/ccakebread.