1 in 3 of us is financially stressed. 10 solutions to financially thrive, not just survive.

1 in 3 Australians are experiencing financial stress.

Financial stress is the No.1 cause of relationship breakdown, according to Relationships Australia research. That’s for all couples, not just those who are married.

According the Brisbane Times newspaper, one in three Australians are experiencing financial stress, and it’s affecting people at all income levels.

Caitlin Fitzsimmons writing for the Brisbane Times says this is partly because of housing affordability: people are servicing huge mortgages, or they’re locked out and paying ever-increasing levels of rent. It’s partly because of low wages growth, with workers’ pay packets failing to keep pace with productivity gains in the economy. It’s also because while the inflation rate has been low for some time, costs associated with raising a family keep going up. Childcare fees, premiums for private health insurance, and private school fees have all risen faster than the consumer price index.

Some of this is the result of personal choices, some isn’t.

Some of this is the result of mass consumerism. We living in a spending epidemic where everything is “spend, spend, spend”. The opportunity to spend money we don’t have is everywhere. Everyone is competing to keep up with, or better still exceed, the Joneses.

We’ve all made some, or all, of these 7 overspending mistakes, or blunders, at some point in our life:

  1. Spending because we are unsatisfied with what we already have and own
  2. Spending because we are boredom and lonely
  3. Spending because we are feel unprepared
  4. Spending because we have no willpower
  5. Spending because we love buying gifts
  6. Spending because we  have FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
  7. Spending because we are fear failing to meet our children’s needs

 My biggest problem was buying because my friends did. There’s a lot of competition. I felt really pressured and it’s embarrassing to look like you can’t afford it. We got ourselves into debt. I realised we need to do what’s right for our family. I feel quite happy using up what we’ve already got. I’d rather be happy than in debt” Leanne, Sydney

So what can we do in this age of mass consumerism?

What are the solutions in times of a spending epidemic?

What do we do when everywhere we go its “spend, spend, spend”?

What do we do when everyone is trying to keep up with, or better still exceed, the Joneses?

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These are my 10 steps or 10 solutions to financially thrive, not just survive. Here’s what works for me:

  1. I set up a monthly budget
  2. I stopped using my credit and debit cards
  3. I have a 3 month waiting list
  4. I got people in place to help – I meet my accountability group
  5. I use up everything that I already have – I use up all my hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers. I use bathroom towels and tea towels until they have holes in them.
  6. I wear out the shoes and clothes that I already have
  7. I got out and have fun
  8. I created new habits
  9. I focus on experiences not stuff
  10. Ask. Borrow what you need from other people

And finally make sure your financial goals, expectations and commitments are realistic.

The big lesson for me is that it’s ok to ask someone if you can borrow something that they have. I now have the courage to ask my neighbours or I would put a post on Facebook asking if someone had the thing that I need” Emma, Brisbane

FIND OUT MORE… I will be LIVE on Facebook tonight (Tuesday 3 October) at 8pm (Brisbane times) to discuss the 10 solutions to financially thrive, not just survive.

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