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One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that some people can afford everything, but most people will have to make do at some point and prioritize their wants and needs. As hard and as sickening as it can be to see so many glamorous humble-bragging photos of exuberant holidays and fabulous clothing on social media, it also pays to have a bit of perspective and know that you are happy in yourself, and don’t need to measure up to these staged photos.
Money is a particularly tough path to negotiate when the world tells you to keep up with the Joneses and your bank account still looks like a disaster zone. In a world where having more is about literally having more, it’s tough to remember that what you really need are great friends, a fun social life and a sense of inner contentment that no money will ever be able to buy.
That said, ignoring money altogether isn’t going to help and you still need to know the basics of financial management to ensure that you can live well.
No matter how much or how little money you have, you need to be able to set yourself a budget. This means designating money wisely so that you can pay your bills, afford your groceries and have some fun too. Budgeting isn’t about looking at what those damned Joneses are spending on; it is about assessing what you need and what will make you happy and fulfilled.
For lots of people, saving money is a good habit that they’ve fallen into and can’t imagine not doing. For others, saving is a difficult challenge because they want everything now. Whichever category you fall into, saving is the best thing you can do to ensure that you have a healthy financial situation and there are endless – okay 54 – ways to save money that even those who want instant satisfaction can get on board with.
If you have spent any time and effort on keeping up with the Joneses, then it’s likely that you will have racked up some credit card debt in the process. This isn’t a complete disaster, but you do need to free yourself from that debt as soon as you can. One method is to use best credit cards for balance transfers as a way to reduce the amount of interest you will end up paying and make repayments more manageable.
Once you are free of debt, you will feel relieved and a lot calmer. And hopefully, the stress of trying to stretch your finances so hard just to keep up appearances will dissipate too.
The most important thing in life is that you don’t feel pressured to be someone you are not, or to do things you don’t want to do. You have your own path to follow and the people who love you most won’t care whether you have the latest designer clothes or have a luxury holiday booked. They want to be able to talk to you over a coffee and laugh over shared memories. That’s what your money should really be working for.